Lucky Number 13

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Um, yea, so my head still hurts, and today can be filed under one of the crappiest of all time, however, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the one good thing that happened on this dreadful day. It was a wonderful start to the day.

I woke up (4:45 am!) to an email from BOSSY letting me know that I had won a contest. Not just any contest, a contest worth a year's supply of Scott products. It's sick how excited this makes me. Toilet paper and paper towels for a year. I'm not even kidding. If my head hadn't hurt so much, I'd have jumped for joy. It also comes with a 100 dollar gift card. Wonder if Tulane Hospital will take that as payment? Probably.

Anyways, and that was the highlight of the day. The rest of the 13th day of the headache (for those joining the journey, this is not the 13th day in a row that I've had a headache show up, it's the 13th day of a particular headache. I have not NOT had this one single headache since Thursday, September 18th. No, I'm not exaggerating) has been horrendous.

Let's see, I said something horribly inappropriate to a student (not like that, but like, could have really serious ramifications, which will make me nervous for some time into the future), I forgot to do something really important for my sporting event and I missed an important phone call related to that. I also left my lights on on my car, killing my battery FOR THE SECOND DAY IN A ROW, same method and everything. Not even joking. This time I had to have someone charge my car with their battery for like 10 minutes before my car would even consider starting. Not at all embarrassing to ask someone two days in a row to jump-start your car.

And of course, no call from the doctor. Which basically means that nothing showed up on the MRI. Which basically means that, in a word, I'm totally screwed. If nothing shows up on this MRI, aside from demanding a lumbar puncture (which will put me just on the wrong side of the crazy line), there's very little I can do besides continue to wait and see. 13 days into a headache which has robbed me the ability to be happy, which has robbed me the ability to interact normally, do my work, or even be pleasant to my husband, and I have no information. I'm likely going to be getting a phone call tomorrow telling me that this is the way it will be forever.

Each day I wake up hoping for something new, something different. Some answer, insight, change. Anything. And each day I go to sleep more frustrated over the lack of change. Tonight I am going to bed disappointed and sad because I really just don't like what the future holds any more.

Off to MRI

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wish me...um clear images? Easy to spot solutions?

Not really sure what I need. Not problems, I've got those, so I guess what I really need are good radiologists who can figure out what the hell the problem is.

Doubt I'll hear anything today, but if I do, you'll be in the top 5 I tell.

Surrender

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Really, it's just time to stop now. I have no puns, no funny jokes, no more smiley face to put on. No more happy act. I've used all that up. I've done a pretty good job of managing, but I'm really finished.

It's. time. to. stop. hurting.

I cannot express to you how completely done I am with this. With pain. With a 14 year old child pointing out that my non-drugged pupils were "HUGE" because of a neurological issue. With people at work seeing me across a room and telling me that I "look like hell." Or telling me that they can tell I have a headache. No shit. After 10 days, I've stopped trying to pretend like I don't. There's no more charade.

My name is Katie. My life is currently dictated by the feeling that the back of my head is going to explode. Every thing I do revolves around that.

I want to enjoy my life so very badly. I want to still be at a good friend's house enjoying good food and company, but I just couldn't. I was laying with my head in Slappy's lap and I realized that I needed to be home. I wasn't being social, I was barely conscious and I needed to be home.

I really need this to stop soon. It's reaching a critical mass that I thought I could never reach. I thought I could manage pain, I have a fairly high tolerance (I'd like to point out that I had my tonsils taken out at age 20, without pain medication. That I had brain surgery with less than 24 hours of pain medication. That I had 1/4 of one of my boobs lopped off, without pain medication, I have a high pain tolerance), but this is too much.

This is my white flag. I cannot go on. I cannot fight this fight anymore. I don't know what to do.

Help.

I get by with a little help from my friends

Friday, September 26, 2008

No, my head hasn't stopped hurting, but rather than write about that again, I just wanted to drop a quick note to thank you all for the emails, comments and other messages I've gotten these past 10 miserable freaking days. They have lifted me up more than I ever thought possible and made me feel so very loved, and at times when I needed it more than ever before.

Thank you for continuing to read when the pain prevented me from being a good blog friend and really, even a sub-par blogger. Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts; for your suggestions and sympathy.

xo,
Katie

Hour 184

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm just going to put this out here now. If you're tired of reading about my head, you're going to want to click the red box/circle in the corner because as long as my head continues to suck the life out of me, it's also going to continue to suck the life out of my blog. Sorry, it's just kind of the way it works. As long as my world continues to be void of humor, so will my writing.

As my three sentence blog from 6 this morning indicated (by the way, if I haven't already made it known, I'm not a morning person), I did take the Percocet last night. I did not want to, I was creeped out by it, especially since I was home alone (Slappy was on call) and I've had anaphylactic reactions to other narcotics, but I guess 7 days of a headache will wear down just about all defenses. I was a little surprised myself.

And then more so when I woke up this morning with the same. fucking. headache. I was drowsy, then couldn't sleep initially, then had some crazy dreams and then no relief. I mean, I don't feel an ounce better. Not even a little bit. Not more well rested. Not less crabby (shut up). Nothing. I feel like the back of my head is going to explode. I feel like my heart is beating in my ears and flashing in my eyes. It's awesome. Or wait, no, I forget, I think it's actually, yes, that's right, it's the freaking opposite of awesome. I remember now.

Last night took on a moment of especially creepy when the one pre-surgery neurological symptom that had been absent, nystagmus, came as if on cue as I settled down to chill at my computer. I had it fairly frequently pre-surgery, but it came in short bursts. A few minutes here, a few minutes there, and then it went away.

This would not stop. Five minutes passed, still, my eyes jerked from side to side. Then seven minutes. Eight. After twelve minutes of the side to side movements, I laid completely flat on my bed, closed my eyes, (prayed) and just waited. After a few minutes I got up and it stopped. It hasn't started up since, but I've had a few instances where I get the sensation as if it's about to begin and I'll just stop when I'm going and rest my head and it seems to stave it off, at least psychologically if nothing else.

I have come up with 2 completely plausible theories because I can think of nothing other than the pain in my head. Trust me, if you had pain like this, it would consume your entire life as well. I promise.

Theory #1: Intracranial Hypertension (Pseudotumor Cerebri): Basically like high blood pressure in your brain (and blood pressure being spinal fluid pressure). Is pretty common among Chiari patients. I have pretty much every single symptom. It creeped me out when I read one article that said, "Tinnitus - often synchronous with the pulse." Holy. crap.

Theory #2: CSF Leak Returns (with a vengence): In February the neurosurgeon found a csf leak on an MRI. It had sealed itself, but it had happened at some point. My theory is this: I flew to and fro California less than 2 weeks ago, to the tune of a lot of pressure changes and pretty vast sums of head pain. If I had a weak spot in my duraplasty, it could've sprung another leak, which could either be causing pressure headaches, or it could've already sealed and the pool of csf could've created a pseudomeningocele and that could be putting pressure on my brain.

In case you were wondering, yes, I do have too much free time on my hands. It's what happens when suddenly you can't concentrate on anything because holy shit, your head is going to explode.

And now we wait. And wait and wait. There's absolutely nothing, literally, that can be done until the MRI is read next week. I mean, if the pain increases dramatically I can go back to the emergency room and sit in the waiting room for another 6 hours or I can call my neurologist back, but mostly the only thing I can get myself at this point is a weekend stay at the hospital, which will do nothing but cost me a lot of money I don't have.

So here I sit. In bed, incapacitated, hoping beyond all hope that whatever the hell this is either is a) fixable, or b) fucking goes away. Either way, it's really time for this to stop.

It is 6 in the morning

I took the Percocet last night and aside from some weird dreams, it appears to have done precisely NOTHING.

I hate everything.

Dr. Appointment and Blog Updates

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

(First, a quick note about the blog template change. I kind of like it. It is a little hallucinogenic and I think it's kind of like the great equalizer. I mean, my head hurts all the time and now my blog makes your head hurt. Now we're all together in it. I kid. But really, it's the easiest 3 column template I could find, so I'm going to keep it for a little while. More on this another time, but I'll work on getting all my "page elements" back up throughout the day. Comments for the posts are now that the top of the post, which is new I realize. You'll get used to it, I promise. Nevermind, I changed it again. Even I had a hard time reading my own blog. Hopefully this is easier to read on all apparatuses. Apparati? Whatever. It should be more boring easier to read)

I'm back from the doctor.

Sigh.

It went pretty much as I expected it would. I was slightly concerned she'd be irritated that I'd gone to the emergency room and that'd they'd called her at 11:30 at night, but thankfully she wasn't. Apparently on the 7th day of a headache, doctor's have sympathy on you for waking them up at night. I also apparently looked like I wasn't feeling well. Imagine that.

She asked a bunch of questions about the headache: did anything I've taken make it better? (hell freaking no) Have I had any other symptoms? (dizziness, ringing in my ears, ability to see my heartbeat in my eyes, some nausea) Have I been able to do normal activities with the pain? (not very successfully) And a few others I don't really recall. She did a quick neuro exam, the only thing remarkable was that my left eye isn't dilating quite as quickly as my right, but the difference is VERY slight and when she repeated it she didn't notice the difference, so we're probably being a little hypersensitive.

What she said is what I was afraid of. Frankly, this happens. Some Chiari patients do well after surgery and then for no apparent reason have a return of headaches. They do not know why and they do not really have successful treatment. I cannot tell you what it feels like to have a doctor tell you that while she does think that an MRI is the right thing to do (Monday at 1pm), that she thinks it's going to show no change from the one in February and there's probably not going to be anything she can do.

It's not like I didn't know this was a possibility, because I did. I always knew it was. But I guess my thought was always, well, if I have the surgery and the headaches come back, they won't be worse than before. Well, guess what, they fucking are. This 7 day headache is worse than any I ever had pre-surgery. And I guess that's why I'm almost hoping that something, of a benign or treatable nature, shows up on that MRI. Because if I am simply doomed to a life of pain because of something I thought we'd fixed, then I truly do not know what to do with myself.

This isn't the kind of grin-and-bear it pain I used to live with. It's not shrug it off and move on pain. It's not sleep it off pain. It's pain that follows me every single waking hour. It's pain that is there when I wake up to pee in the middle of the night. It's pain that creeps into my dreams that invades my every thought.

Perhaps you think it's crazy to wish for something to show up on an MRI, but perhaps if you'd had a headache for 7 days with no relief, or if you constantly felt like your feet were going to flip over your head, you'd understand that it's not a wish to be ill, it's a wish that the illness that you have would present in a way that could be fixed. It's that there is a solution to what you know is an existing problem. It's that the wrongness could have a name so that it could have an answer. My neurologist agreed, there's no question that what's going on is not acceptable, there's just not really much that can be done.

So, against both of our wishes, she has given me Percocet to try and break the cycle of headaches, and as I said, an appointment for an MRI on Monday afternoon. If the Percocet doesn't work and the MRI comes back normal, then frankly, I don't know what I'm going to do at all. Because if 7 days of these headaches causes me this much trauma and this is what the rest of my life is going to be like, then I'm not exaggerating when I say that I really, truly, quit.

So yea

I somehow thought that on day 7 of a headache that I should mess with my blogger template.

Ignore the mess for now. I'm off to the doctor. I'll be sure and throw in, "makes really bad choices" into the list of symptoms.

p.s. do you like this template? does it make you want to vomit with it's rainbowiness or is it just enough perkiness? feedback is appreciated and since I definitely didn't create it and only spent about 10 minutes trying to find the "browse" and then "upload" buttons, I won't be offended if you don't like it.

Home

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Long night, but to make the story really short, I go back to see my neurologist at 9:30 tomorrow morning. I'll fill you in on all the details after that. For now, sleep.

The Plan, at hour 108

Monday, September 22, 2008

So, I think we're at hour 108, I tried to count, but to be honest, my cognitive skills are suffering.

My head still hurts. In fact, it hurts MUCH worse than it did yesterday. No, I did not go to an emergency room. I have no valid reason or excuse. I simply didn't.

So here is my new plan. I think you'll approve.

I will do absolutely nothing tonight except sit in my dark bedroom drugged to high heaven. Tomorrow I will go to work in the morning, because I need to, because I didn't plan ahead enough to not be there tomorrow. I will leave work at noon and come home. I will nap with my husband (who will just be getting home from an overnight shift at the hospital) and then we will go to the emergency room.

Frankly, at this point, there's not much I won't do to have this sorted out. I still do not want narcotics. Despite over 100 hours of pain, I'm not seeking drugs. I'm not concerned about the pain. Yes, being out of pain is surely high on the list of wants, but not at the cost of narcotics. What I want is resolution of the cause of the pain. I have several suspicions, but no way to be sure until I see a physician, which unless the head pain magically disappears, I will do tomorrow.

And now, all I need from you wonderful people is thoughts and prayers that when I go to sleep tonight, that whatever the hell is causing this nightmarish pain will suddenly stop or go away or die or whatever the right verb is. Or adjective. Or part of speech. I don't even care, as long as it's gone. Because it's starting to break my spirit and I don't like who I am right now or how it's impacting those around me. I just want to be me, I just want to have my life back, my smile, my normal again.

I'll update as I know more.

Hi, my name is Katie, and it's been 62 hours since my head HASN'T hurt

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I am not okay.

I'm trying to be, but I'm not.

My head is bad. Yesterday when I came home after work before dance chaperoning to take a nap, my peripheral vision was dark, it was weird. Today when I laid down to take a nap, my ears were ringing. I could hear my heartbeat in my ears, it was also weird.

It hurts. It does not respond to Aleve. It does not respond to Tylenol. It does not respond to 24 time release NSAIDs. It does not respond to combinations of the 3 (my liver and kidneys are also not thrilled with that choice). It does not even respond to sleep. Sleep was the one thing I used to be able to count on with the pre-surgery headaches. If it hurt too bad, I just went to bed and when I woke up, I almost always felt better.

FAIL.

Since Thursday morning when this particular headache began, I have slept 4 times, with no benefit. I really am not equipped to handle this. I can't focus, I can't think, I cannot seem to really do anything except dwell on the fact that my head. fucking. hurts. Yes, it hurts f-bomb on a Saturday worthy.

I called the doctor yesterday afternoon and just said, look, I don't think that Topamax is causing these headaches, but I don't think it's going to be the answer either. I didn't expect a call back on a Friday afternoon (and I didn't get one), but if I don't hear back by Monday afternoon, I'll call again. And I'll lather, rinse, repeat every day until I get a call back and an appointment. I can't function this way. I'm not able to do my job well. I'm not able to enjoy my life and that was the reason that I had a 4 hour surgery, 13 staples, 5 months of physical therapy and countless anxiety attacks. So that I wouldn't have to do this anymore. And I do not believe that there's nothing more that can be done. I do not believe that I am going to have to learn to deal with this.

I will not accept that answer. I want more from my life and I will have it, damnit. If I have to spend every day on the phone with every doctor I know, I will be out of pain, I will find a life that most closely resembles normalcy and I will be me again.

My name is Katie and it's been 62 hours since my head hasn't hurt, but this will never ever be the status quo.

Headache of the Century

Friday, September 19, 2008

I. quit.

Ode to Talenti La Habana Mojito Sorbetto

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's sad that I'm not at all being paid to promote this, but if you live near a Whole Foods, run, do not walk, and go get this product. I promise that you will not be disappointed.

I stumbled across this sorbet right after Hurricane Gustav when there were like no other frozen products and I will admit, I was totally skeeved out. I mean, when Whole Foods is without all frozen products except one sorbet, does that mean that I shouldn't eat that sorbet? I'm thinking probably. But I did anyways.

And oh. mah. God.

Possibly the greatest thing I've ever eaten. And yes, I realize I've made that claim about cakes of several varieties, chocolate mousse, and pancakes but here's the catch, I don't like ice cream. Or even sorbet. I don't like really anything from the frozen novelties section. But this? This is freaking incredible. I'd make out with this. Maybe I already have.

It's sweet, but tangy. Rummy, limey, minty and slushy. The flavors don't overwhelm each other, they blend perfectly, like a chord of tastes dancing a symphony in your mouth (holy crap, I should be a food critic).

In short, I'm going to go eat some in the bath tub, and by some, I mean probably all of it. Which would be fine because that'd only be 380 calories and no fat. I'm serious. I highly suggest you do the same.

It's possible I've hit a blogging low point today. Whatever, I have mojito sorbet, I don't give a crap about anything right now.


And in other news, I'm calling the neurologist back tomorrow because my head is getting noticeably worse, and that was her only parting advice: call if it gets worse (we have a winner!). Neither of the stupid medications she gave me are doing a single good thing and I'm tired of this crap. So I'm waving a big white flag, throwing in a brain sized towel and hoping for another, more productive appointment. Or at least a one-on-one session with an MRI tube.

Dear Universe

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

STOP SUCKING.

I actually thought to myself, you know what? I'm being too negative, let me sit down and write a happier blog about the things that are going right in my life right now. And then I stared at a blank computer screen for 10 minutes.

And then I forgot what I was doing in the first place.

This week freaking blows. How many weeks in a row have I written that now? I'm going to have to change this blog to Overflowing Pessimism. Or Overflowing Shitfest. Or Overflowing Whiner. Or just Obnoxious.

For example, I love my husband dearly, or at least I think I do. It's difficult to remember since I haven't seen him in forever. He's on-call 2 nights a week now and since I'm working shitacular hours, I've seen him for like, um 3 hours since Monday morning at 5am. I don't love that. I feel like our schedules have made it impossible to spend any quality time together lately and my schedule isn't going to improve any time soon.

Work is handing me my ass at regular intervals. I lose track half-way through whatever I'm teaching. I forget whole binders full of information. I get classes confused and I cannot seem to get ahead on my work at all. No matter how much time I spend planning, I'm always only like 10 minutes ahead. And I still feel constantly incompetent.

Ditto on coaching, except, you know, the results of those endeavors are widely publicized, which just increases the likelihood of exposure of my ineptitude.

The classes that I'm taking are being put rather unabashedly on hold. My psych class is on a no-tardy-points reprieve still from the hurricane, which I hadn't planned on utilizing, except that when I sat down to actually do the assignment, I couldn't get the audio lecture to work. Because, well, it's me. Let's be honest, it's not the computer, it's me.

And above all else, my head still freaking hurts. So much I could just cry. And I'm tired all the damn time. I'm trying to give Topamax an honest try because I want it to work, I want these headaches to respond to medicine. I'll suffer through these side effects if my head will simmer the fuck down. I'll deal with my lips tingling and twitching, I'll deal with the fact that only 25mg a day has caused my brain to melt to drowsy mush, I'll manage the fact that when I get cold I completely lose feeling in my extremities if my head will just STOP.

I think I spoke too soon- one good thing happened today. I came up with a better name for Topamax. I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with Topasuck, but you switch the s with an f.

Topasucks

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yes, that was the most creative title I could come up with. Shut up.

I hate Topamax. Mega super uber hate it. And I've only taken a grand total of 50mg of it so far, though the next 25mg dose is only minutes away.

I took the first tiny pill of doom and evil on Sunday night. Monday, I thought I had been run over by a truck. Like, I checked for tread marks. I could barely stay awake at work, I could barely function. On my way to a meeting with a professor who's writing a letter of recommendation for me I actually nodded off while DRIVING MY CAR. Well, okay, so I was stopped at a red light, but um, yea, that's probably not a good thing. Which is ironic because when I tried to go to bed at 9:30 because I was freaking exhausted, I could not sleep. Topamax, I do not appreciate your irony one bit.

I consider myself a tolerant fairly tolerant semi-tolerant person. I dealt with 5 weeks of no chocolate, I can do deprivation if necessary. But seriously Topamax, destroying the flavor of Diet Coke is. not. okay. I checked because I thought I might have been hallucinating (also a side effect!) and screwed upness of tastebuds is a documented side effect. I'm sure there's a more technically term like, suckthehappinessoutofdrinkingadietcokeicus or something like that, but I'm not a doctor and I don't care enough to look for it. And I wouldn't remember it anyway.

My attention span, like my ability to stay awake has flown out a window. I believe I know what it's like to have ADD, but like drunk ADD. I can't pay attention to anything, but I'm so tired I can't even pay attention to the fact that I can't pay attention to anything.

Wait, what was I talking about?

And perhaps best of all, my head hurts worse today than it has in recent days. I do not appreciate this kind of irony. I realize that this medicine does not treat headaches (oh do I ever realize it), but seriously, it's not preventing them yet either.

So to recap, Topamax is:
-making me so groggy I could crawl into a small hole and die sleep lie awake endlessly
-ruining diet coke
-killing my attention span
-causing even greater apathy for all things in life
-NOT STOPPING THE HEADACHES ONE LITTLE BIT

And did I mention sucking? Because it is. See, now the title makes sense.

Air Max

Monday, September 15, 2008

I almost killed a man on an airplane yesterday. And it wouldn't have been an act of terrorism, it would've been an act of divine justice. If you knew the man you'd probably have thanked me.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Sunday morning I arrived at the local airport in my hometown at 7:45 for a 9:10 flight. I checked in quickly and settled in the terminal and actually got some work done. When I looked at the clock on my computer I realized that holy crap, it was 9:05, the plane I was supposed to be already aboard had not yet arrived and my connection at LAX was in an hour and 45 minutes. It's a tight connection when the first flight is on time, but it's almost impossible when the PLANE ISN'T EVEN THERE 5 MINUTES BEFORE IT'S SUPPOSED TO TAKE OFF.

So I calmed down a little and waited. And waited. At 9:20 the plane came in, at 9:26 we boarded and we hit the ground at LAX at 10:35. My flight out of LAX was for 10:50 however, despite the fact that I was traveling on the same airline for both flights, my gates were like 7 miles apart. So I ran. I had a backpack, a laptop back and a diet coke in a bottle (which incidentally was a diet coke exploded all over my chair about 15 minutes later) and I ran my out-of-shape heart out.

I got to my gate and the woman looked at me with that look that says, you know I should have already shut this door and made your ass find a new flight, so grovel at my feet, which I did and then ran onto the plane. I stowed my backpack and as I went to get into my seat the man in the seat behind mine started clapping and then said, VERY loudly, "so nice of you to show up. It's not like we have anywhere to be."

Oh. yes. he. did.

It was on. I ignored him, because as I understand it, airlines take beating the shit out of people on planes pretty seriously these days, but I was furious. I took some time to calm down, pour soda all over myself and enjoy the flight. About an hour in I decided to take a short nap so I leaned my seat maybe 1/3 of the way back. You would have thought I put my head in this man's naked crotch or something. Because all I heard about for the next 30 minutes was how "people need to learn about personal space on an airplane."

Eventually I decided to stop trying to sleep and put a movie on my iPod. Not long after it began I noticed that the man was kicking my chair. KICKING MY CHAIR. At first I dismissed it, thinking that perhaps he didn't realize it. And then I heard him mention to his buddy that maybe if he kicked my chair enough that I'd raise my seat back up.

I didn't.

So after another 30 minutes he decided to take the obnoxious up a notch. He decided to watch the in flight entertainment by leaning on my seat. He wrapped his arm around the top of my headrest, pulled back on it, and proceeded to watch tv like that for 40 minutes. With his arm resting ON MY HEAD the whole time.

At which point I looked at the man next to me, who by the way, did not speak a word of English and said, that I thought it was amazing how some people didn't understand personal space on an airplane. He didn't move, so I just reclined my seat further back and enjoyed the remaining hour of the flight.

And perhaps I flipped him off when we deplaned. Because I'm mature like that.

But, I did not kill him, and for that, I need you to be really proud of me. I think I might need a cookie.

Homes

Friday, September 12, 2008

I am safely in my home in California. And I do have lots to share with you about my travels, but I want to talk briefly about other peoples' homes tonight.

While I have, in the past, perhaps said a few not-so-kind things about Texas, I, like many others, am watching and praying that when I wake up tomorrow morning the news is going to show that Ike wasn't as bad as anticipated. Perhaps that's naive of me, but it's the best I can offer.

As a resident of New Orleans, I've seen what happens to people when their homes and lives are devastated. I've met children who don't ever want to go on a cruise in their life because they had to live on a cruise ship after Katrina. I've talked with families who aren't even phased by the fact that a tornado touched down after Gustav last week because even though they have to get a whole new roof, at least there's only an inch of water, and oh yea, the back wall is still standing. Or one child who cried for 2 weeks after her grandmother died because they shared a room for year after the storm.

Lives were changed by that storm in so many more ways than I ever realized.

Disasters of nature are horrible. No matter how much warning you get, no one can adequately prepare you to have your life turned upside down. It doesn't matter if you evacuate, and sure, the items lost are probably "material" things, but that certainly doesn't make it okay to lose everything you couldn't fit in your car when you had to leave your home to Mother Nature.

I have evacuated a whopping one time now, and I can tell you that watching and waiting to see what would happen with Gustav was one of the scariest days of my life. Being so helpless, so far away and so unsure of the future is nothing short of impossible to process.

One of the things that I loved from the moment I set foot in New Orleans was the spirit of the city. But not just the residents, all those people who came to help out. I've heard from several of you here, those who volunteered after Katrina. Those who gutted houses, cleaned out storm drains, built new homes with Habitat for Humanity. All you who helped New Orleans rebuild after the devastation of Katrina. People came together in a way my cynical mind couldn't even imagine and I think that we owe at least part of the rebirth of New Orleans to you.

There are t-shirts and bumper stickers all around the city, which I love, that say, "Be a New Orleanian, wherever you are." I doubt that the creator of the slogan meant it the way that it's always came across to me, but I always understood it as all of you are a part of this city. So many people helped in so many ways, and you left a little of yourself here. Like you are all New Orleanians, regardless of where you live because you were a part of this city, a part of it's rising and a part of its future.

So tonight, as we wait to see what Ike is going to do to Galveston and Houston, let's all be Texans, wherever we are.

Exiting the tunnel

Thursday, September 11, 2008

This has been the day few days week that never ends. But I finally have good news. Rather lots of it too. Um, but none of it is health related. Feel free to lecture me about advocating for my own healthcare in the comments. I need to hear it. I'm starting the Topamax on Monday and there's a good chance that I might not remember what advocating for one's health is afterwards.

Anyways, I left the house at 6:45 this morning to take a Microbiology test that I was not at all prepared for. I could tell you that I haven't had the time, but we all know that's a lie. I had a week off of work in which I could've learned a lot, but I didn't. However, despite my lousy studying practices, apparently my guessing abilities have blossomed. Because I got an 88 out of 100. This is fantastic news, especially when you discover that the class average was a 48. So, methinks 40 percent above the average is commendable.

Then I went to work, which was, as usual, a giant zoo of chaos.

Somewhere in the middle of my day I got other good, nay, awesome news. Slappy, who is now in his 4th and final (praise the Lord) year of medical school, sent out his residency application last night around 9. As of this morning, he already has an interview at one of the programs. As of this evening, he has 2. And this is his application without any letters of recommendation attached, which is very impressive and awesome. Did I mention it is awesome? because it is. I'm so freaking proud of him.

Then, I left work early for a sporting event on the Northshore. For those not familiar with the geography of New Orleans, there is a big freaking lake here and to get to the northshore, you must drive across a big freaking bridge over the big freaking lake (that sentence originally contained the F bomb 3 times, I censored it because I'm feeling cool like that, yo). Like seriously, a 25 mile long bridge over water. Which is intimidating. It is horrendously frightening when you have to drive said bridge in wind gusting up to 40 miles an hour. Or when the waves in the middle of the big freaking lake are breaking like a foot below the bridge.

(Also, edited to add, because this was too good not to share: I noticed halfway through the drive that something was moving about in the trunk of my car. And then I noticed a smell. And then I remembered that we never removed the bag of CAT FOOD from my trunk from evacuation. So when I finally got across the freaking big lake, I have like a solid inch of cat food in my trunk. And my car smells like a cat's mouth. I'm thinking if I just lock the cat in the trunk for about an hour I'll take care of the mess, but perhaps not the smell.)

But I made it, and the sporting event actually went pretty well, which again, was a wonderful surprise.

To balance out the good, the big freaking bridge was closed by the time I got to leave the sporting event (which was, um, like 8:15pm) and therefore I had to drive AROUND the big freaking lake. I will never again complain about the causeway, because seriously, the amount of time it saves is unreal.

I got home at 9:45, ate dinner, watched America's Next Top Model from last night (don't judge me) and now I'm contemplating the merits of packing. This weekend is my weekend to fly home and bomb take another test, but the weather is concerning. We're not getting a direct hit by Ike by any means, but we are again getting a good bitchslap by the dirty side of it. The winds are a little ridiculous. I might have to switch sides of the broken bed (that's another story for another time) with Slappy tonight so that if the hammock outside our bedroom comes flying in it takes him out first. What? I have a plane to catch tomorrow.

And, finally, as today marked my 35th day without chocolate, I finally got to re-introduce it into my diet. And maybe I've built it up too much in its absence because it was actually not as good as I remember. That said, I'm pretty sure I'll never ever go 35 consecutive days without it again. Hell, I might not go 35 non-consecutive days without it again.

So while it was a 14.5 hour work day and I'm so completely exhausted I might keel over here and now, it was also a day which included a good grade on a test, my husband getting 2 residency interviews, a success at coaching, not dying on the causeway and chocolate. A good day indeed.

Hallelujah. Can it be the weekend now?

How to fail at other things too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It has been a day.

I left for work related stuff at 5:30 this morning and I arrived home at 5:30pm. In those 12 hours I literally did not have 20 minutes of non-working time, even if you added together all the 5 minute blocks I might have had. I got to work late because the thing in the morning ran long (yes, I'm being vague, it's called not wanting to get fired) and then the copy machine ran out of paper so I had to walk to the other copy machine which is as far away from where I was standing as any object could be. I was subsequently later for my first class than I was already running, which is just great when you work 5 feet from your administrator's office door. It's also great to start the day playing catch up.

Just as I sat down for lunch, which was my only promised break of the day, the front office called and asked if I could watch another teacher's class because she was going home sick. I'm not sure why they ask because you can't say no, so I didn't even have a lunch break today. I realize this breaks many labor laws, but I think it just broke my spirit. I needed at least 10 good minutes away from children, more for their own good than anything else.

I realized halfway through the day from hell that I had a class tonight that I had totally forgotten about. It is a lab (I took the class it goes with last year) and I was already on the fence about dropping since I have to miss 2 classes for work stuff, but when I realized that I had neither a) bought the lab manual; nor b) done a single moment of homework for the class and it was already approaching 5:00 (for a 6:30 lab), I knew that it was time to just drop that ball altogether.

It's the first time in a long time that I'll admit that I've bitten off about 12 times more than I can chew. Working full time, volunteering at a clinic 3 days a week, taking 2 full classes, applying to 30 some-odd graduate programs and coaching a sport is too much. Once you add in that my head is in a constant state of THROBBING RIDICULOUS PAIN, it just reaches a critical mass and I start to lose my shit, or at least my will to do anything.

I have a test tomorrow morning and I haven't yet studied for it. I have a big sporting event tomorrow that I feel is going to reveal my severe ineptitude as a coach. I am flying home Friday for a test on Saturday that I have roughly a snowball's chance in hell of passing, and then I have to fly back and start the cycle all over again. I'm almost hoping that Ike stays between California and Louisiana a little longer so that my flight will be delayed. Yes, I'm a horrible person.

And while this is one big gigantic whine of a post, it doesn't even begin to cover the sheer amount and force of the stress I'm feeling. I want to sit in a dark corner and rock back and forth. I actually found myself singing to nothing (no radio, no ipod) in the car and didn't bother to stop myself when I realized. Holy crap.


Dear this week, I bequeath to thee my ass, that way you can more easily kick the crap out of it.
p.s. Feel free to keep the extra 5 evacuation pounds that have taken up residence on it.

How to fail a doctor's appointment

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ugh.

Today was the long anticipated neurologist appointment. And by long anticipated, I mean, scheduled in July, been counting down the days and have not gone to an ER for head pain because I knew I had this appointment.

Which sucked.

It's mostly my fault. I have a problem where I completely lost my backbone when alone at the doctor (Slappy was on call last night, I told him to go home and sleep) and today was no exception. Generally speaking, I love this neurologist. This is only the second time I've met with her, but she's kind, knowledgeable and seems to care. Slappy has worked with her and all the other doctors speak very highly of her.

I was brought back in a fairly timely manner (almost unheard of) and she asked me why I was there (I currently don't have to do any follow ups for the brain surgery stuff). Apparently the answer of 2 straight months of headaches was not impressive. It's weird because I bitch and moan a lot at home, but at the doctor, I don't know, I feel like a cry baby. I told her about the headaches, the dizziness, the arm/leg twitching and she was wholly unimpressed. She is concerned with the quantity of Aleve and Tylenol I take (imagine how worried she'd be if I told her that I took the two together...) and she has heard of Chiari patients having headaches return 6 months post-op, but really doesn't know why.

I did ask what she thought could be behind the headaches, but she offered no ideas. I didn't push it, because, well, I left my backbone in the car (incidentally, I am like Captain Backbone on the phone, it's a very odd phenomena). So now I'm stuck with a prescription for a drug I really don't want to take.

Topamax.

Yes, some people have great success with this, a lot don't. I'm on the fence about taking it because the most common side effects (as quoted by the neurologist) are tingling hands and fingers (hi, welcome to my life!), drowsiness and forgetfulness. Sure, these are not severe side effects, but they are not ones that work so well in my life. My mom took Topomax for a while and forgot how to get home twice. She lost 10 pounds because she literally forgot to eat.

Beyond my reservation of the side effects, taking this drug doesn't give us any answers as to why after 6 months of less headaches they're back with such force and vigor. This drug is just a patch, a quickish fix. I would rather be in pain that we can figure out than out of pain that we aren't bothering to try to understand. If the Topomax works do I have to stay on it forever? And if it works, what does that mean about these headaches? Does it mean they're related to the chiari or unrelated?

She also gave me a prescription for a different NSAID that will last 24 hours so I don't have to take 3 Aleve a day (plus 8 Tylenol, yes, my kidneys and liver are crying) and get almost no relief. I'll probably give this a shot, knowing full well that it will eat through the lining of my stomach, but you know, in a time released manner.

I was somewhat uplifted when she came back in the room after writing the prescriptions and said that if things aren't better in 6 weeks that they'll do imaging (MRIs) then, but seriously SIX MORE WEEKS. I could absolutely kick myself. Because as frustrating as it is to be in the waiting game, it's is more frustrating to know that it's your fault.

I could've been much more descriptive, I could've told her that it feels like my head is going to explode. I mentioned that some of the headaches are incapacitating and that sleep is the only solution, but apparently that wasn't enough. So now I'm going to take a drug I really don't want to and likely be in the same damn place in 6 weeks, only, you know, with 40 more headaches under my belt.

I'm so glad I put so much stock into this appointment and got my hopes up for some answers.

I swear it is like I will never learn.

Accolades

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I have received not one, not two, but three! awards this past week and I wanted to take a minute to acknowledge the award givers and thank them for the awards. These are the 3rd, 4th and 5th awards that this blog has received, the other 2 were both from Flea and both were sort of lost in the blog template transition. Because I am an html goddess.


The first award was from my good friend Monkling. Even though she posted a picture of Sarah Palin as Rosie the Riveter, I still try to be her friend. Try, I said (hey look, there went all my conservative readers. Kidding! I love Republicans. Frankly, as long as you vote, we can be friends.) Anyways, she gave me the kick ass blogger award! Woot.

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Oddly, each award has some rules. This is puzzling to me. I have not won many awards in my life, but none of them have come with rules. I'm posting them because contrary to my flippant attitude, I am someone who totally freaking respects authority.

Kickass Blogger Award Rules:
1. Choose 5 bloggers that you feel are “Kick Ass Bloggers”
2. Let ‘em know in your post or via email, twitter or blog comments that they’ve received an award
3. Share the love and link back to both the person who awarded you and back to Mamma Dawg
4. Hop on back to the Kick Ass Blogger Club HQ to sign Mr. Linky then pass it on!


The last two awards were given to me by a new reader who came by way of Hurricane Gustav. Well, not literally. Lori is a new reader (who is not yet disenchanted with my incessant ranting and use of parenthetical statements) and I'm really glad she found her way over here (I almost said stumbled over here, but as I've recently learned, that's something entirely different than what I do up the stairs everyday). She gave me the "I love you this much" award and the "smile" award.

Shut up, I smile sometimes.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Again, with the rules. Apparently, the love one doesn't have rules. How appropriate. Sometimes I wish I could put rules on love. Like, even if you love me, please don't talk to me at 7 in the morning. Because really, I don't love you this much at 7 in the morning.

Anyways, the information for the ironic smile award:

Now, the characteristics for the Smile Award are:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude.
2. Must love one another.
3. Must make mistakes. (Aaaand this is how I qualified)
4. Must learn from others.
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world. (bwa ha ha ha)
6. Must love life.
7. Must love kids.

There are rules attached... Here are they are:
1. The recipient must link back to the awards creator (The Babblings of Mere).
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must choose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself.
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award (see above). (Ahahahaha. Suckers.)
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver. Thanks Lori. Though I joke about the qualifications I somehow possess, I am truly, very honored.


Okay, now the part you've been waiting for (who am I kidding, I know you stopped reading already), my 5 award recipients. I'm not going to lie to you, it's difficult to pick award winners. I wish I could include each and every one of you, but I can't (there are rules, people). And I'm sure some of you have received any one of these three awards before (seriously Monkling, I was going to pick like 3 of the 5 people you picked, NOT HELPING!), but well, I guess you really kick ass, or a lot of people love you this much, or you smile a lot. Either way, if one award is good, 3 more is awesome.

So, in alphabetical order:

1. Legally Blonde Ambition Daisy and I lead really frighteningly parallel lives. Sure she's a lawyer and lives in a big city without hurricanes, but really, if you read closely, it's uncanny bordering on creepy. But, you know, the good kind of creepy. And she offered up her place to us if we evacuate to the big city she lives in. She kicks ass and I bet she even smiles.

2. Live Love Laugh Lace suffers from the same giant brain problem I have. She has been a constant support to me and I know so many other people. Go read her blog and see how amazing her strength in the face of pain is. Really. You decidedly kick ass, and I know you smile a lot.

3. NOLA Notes Frankly, I owe the few shreds of my remaining sanity to NOLA. She called and talked me down from a ledge last week (a metaphorical one, people) and has given me great advice in not freaking out for every hurricane- including the 2 she THREW at me on facebook. She's also become a good friend and has made living in New Orleans something different for me than it originally was. For the first time since moving here, I'm actually a little sad at the idea of relocating at the end of this year. She's also the mother of a really cute kid and she kicks everyone's ass when they need it.

4. Stumbling Through Adulthood Laura and I also live parallel lives. She is a New Orleanian transplant, engaged and trying to find her way through life in a new place. Her blog also somehow deleted itself and I can only begin to imagine how frustrating that must have been and frankly am kind of amazed it hasn't happened to me yet. Anyways, Laura is a kick ass girl and you should definitely go help her repopulate her blog.

5. Wonderful World of Wieners I'm sure Hallie has already received all 3 of these awards, but, well, I don't know, I like her. She has some serious issues (um, Morbid Mondays?), but I can't help it, I love reading. I would advise that if you are not a regular reader that you don't begin reading until Tuesday. Unless you have a strong stomach and are a glutton for punishment. Just saying. But again, despite the disgustingness, she kicks ass.

So there. That took like an hour of linking, but I think I'm done. To all award recipients, please know that if you never post the rules or give the award to 5 more people, I'll hunt you down and harm you be totally unoffended. It takes a long time to be this highly acclaimed. Congratulations.

I have a problem

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A sickness if you will.

Note: if you're tired of reading about hurricanes you'll probably want to leave now, because I'm gonna talk about them. I won't be offended, I just recommend not returning until around November 30th when the season is over. Like I said, it's a sickness.


Yes, I know I shouldn't, but I cannot stop looking at the Hurricane Ike models. I can't help it. Everytime the computer models shift towards Florida (sorry Florida), I breathe a sigh of relief. 2 hours later I come back and NONE of them are pointing at Florida.

What. the. hell.
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I realize it's too early to worry. I realize it's too early to panic. And low and behold, I AM PANICKING.

I am supposed to fly to California on Friday afternoon to take a stupid test for a work situation I'm in. It's sort of important, but obviously, on the scale of hurricanes hitting my home 2 weeks in a row, it's not that big of a deal. But the flight was 500 bucks, the test was 200 and I'm likely going to lose both if Ike swings this way. Not to mention that it's another hurricane heading towards my home. Did I mention that yet?

I'm not really sure how to best prepare for this besides not restocking our fridge and not moving everything back into our attic. Our next door neighbor told us to stop bothering with leaves and let Ike take care of it.

I know it's not logical to worry myself, but this is the only thing I know to do to help control my fear. Ironic, I realize, but I admittedly have a diagnosed anxiety problem, I don't cope normally. I watch, I prepare, I come up with plausible plans and then I wait and see. I feel like if I worry, then one of two things happens. If the scary scenario plays out, I'm prepared to deal with it, and if it doesn't, then well, no harm or foul.

I just don't know. I know that I'm scared and that I really don't like what I'm seeing.

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Yes, it's a sickness. But what else am I supposed to do?

Aaaaaaand we're moving...

Friday, September 5, 2008

There are many things about this home and city I can get past.

Cockroaches. I super mega-loathe them, but I can deal with them. My husband cannot. But I pick them up, I kill them and I move on. I understand that they are a part of life and I'm over them.


The tree that we used to have standing in front of our house:

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic
(check out my mad photo editing skillz. Why no, my husband wasn't in that picture, why do you ask?)


And which we now have all over the front of our house and the street. Does anyone have a rake?

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(I wonder why our power's been in and out. Could it be the tree branch straddling that power line?)
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The Humidity. Yes, bread molds in a day and a half. And you can shower Thursday and still be moist on Tuesday, but it's not that bad. (She says in her air conditioned house.) I wouldn't go running or anything, but I think it's not quite as bad as everyone talked it up as.


The Hurricanes. We packed all the important things in our lives and drove to Nashville a week ago and waiting in angst and fear. We got home at 6 this morning after an 8 hour drive from Nashville which involved trying, but failing, to acquire McDonald's at TWELVE different locations from the Mississippi/Louisiana border to the New Orleans city limits. Dear McDonalds, IF YOU'RE NOT OPEN, TURN YOUR LIGHTS OFF.

But we survived.

And even the fact that we're not moving all our wedding gifts back into the attic because frickin' Ike has decided to angle itself towards the Gulf, is something I'm learning to cope with, but just in case you wondered...Katie does. not. like. Ike.

I was even completely fine cleaning out the rank refrigerator. God bless whoever it was that told me to put all our freezer stuff in garbage bags. Seriously. You're my hero. It was still smelly and gross. And I could still kill my housemate for telling me (after we had already left) that because buttermilk by definition was already "expired" milk that it didn't need to be thrown out because it wouldn't smell worse after 3 days without power. Newsflash: it does.


But friends, I have found something I cannot deal with.

We have maggots. Millions of teeny, tiny, yellow, crawly MAGGOTS in the trashcan. I don't care if the water isn't safe for showering (Sorry kids, I'm pretty sure the water is fine. Exaggeration for effect only! Whoops! Please feel free to shower!), I am going to go rinse myself off for the next six hours until I stop feeling like there are a billion carnivorous bugs on me.

Incidentally, there's a house for rent in New Orleans. Fully furnished, with lots of tree for decorating at Christmastime. Inquire within.

How to screw with someone, storm style

Thursday, September 4, 2008

So yesterday I wrote about how badly I wanted to go home, even without power. Yesterday afternoon we spent an hour at Target buying 100+ dollars of supplies for a house without electricity (and with lots of smells). Someone on Twitter had mentioned some irony about the power not going out at work and I hoped (aloud, hi, have we met?) that we would find some of the same irony.

And I was rewarded. When I called our house at 6:30 last night, the answering machine picked up. I about cried. It meant when we left Thursday night we'd be returning to a home with power. It would still be hot (we turned our a/c off) it would still be smelly (I'm told that electricity does not make shrimp smell less badly), but we would have the electricity and supplies to rectify those situations. And we could return about half of that expensive crap we'd bought at Target. Our money situation, as usual, is not fantastic. We decided to wait and do it today.

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I called our house again right before we left to go on our Target return trip, and no answering machine. I called again thinking surely this could not be right.

12 rings and then nothing. No answering machine, no anything.

And now? The phones are down. So I don't know if we have power BECAUSE THE PHONE WON'T EVEN RING. OMG the insanity ensuing in my brain. I realize that there are a lot of people without power (like 200,000 or more in LA) and that I should not be complaining, but to dangle the dream and then take it away? NOT COOL universe, not cool at all. Both literally and figuratively.

We are leaving tonight anyway, because I just need to be there. I can't play the waiting game any longer. And if for no other reason than because if my Republican friend we're staying with makes me watch one more night of the Republican National Convention, she's going to become that girl I once knew who got me locked in jail for murdering her with her NRA licensed rifle.

On Evacuation*^

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Evacuating is turning out to be a life-sucking vortex experience. I really truly had no idea.

First, we spent two days packing all our important documents into the car, moving all our wedding presents into the hallway from the attic, gassing up the car, all before we could drive. And drive and drive. 8.5 hours later we were in Nashville, which aside from making me excessively tired every day, has been lovely. Slappy has seen the Taco Bell at the hospital at Vanderbilt and has since pledged his allegiance to working in Nashville. You think I'm joking.

But here we are, Wednesday afternoon, after arriving last Friday night, and we're not home. And we're not going home today. Because we're still among 91,000 people in our parish without electricity. The idea of going home to a very empty, very dark neighborhood is not appealing. Especially once you add the VERY warm component. It's supposed to be mid-80s all week, which means it'll be mid-broiling temperature in our house. Oh, and those shrimp? They are not getting less smelly.

So we reconsidered our plan and now we're going to leave Nashville around 8pm Thursday and shoot to get back into New Orleans Friday morning around dawn. We have flash lights, we have scrubbing devices, baking soda, lemons, water (some controversy on twitter as to whether we have water or not...eek), and we're still looking for activated charcoal and battery powered fans. Dear electrical companies: invent and sell more battery powered fans.

I understand that the power is still out due to severe damage and I am being as patient as I possibly can, but I want. to. go. home. I miss my home, I miss normalcy, I miss my bedroom and not having weird dreams. I miss my city, my friends. I'm tired of eating every meal out and the 5 pounds I've already gained. I'm tired of living out of a suitcase and am now one pair of underwear away from a troubling situation.

And look, I realize and am grateful that these problems are so amazingly inconsequential compared to what we were thinking of and I really don't want to complain, but I want so very badly, just to go home. I can deal with a smelly fridge and tree branches I need to clear. I can deal with the likely bit of water we got in the kitchen due to the non-sealing doors. I can deal with what I'm sure will be the most amazing cockroach graveyard scene ever, but I can't do that from Nashville.

I just want to go home.

*6:31pm Wednesday: WE HAVE POWER. Have never been so happy at the prospect of electricity in my life. Still not leaving until tomorrow night.

^12:47pm Thursday: We don't have power anymore. Universe, it's time for you to stop sucking.

Grace fell down like rain

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I have hesitated to update until today because I was afraid if I wrote something last night about being grateful for such minor damage (as compared to the predicted possibilities) that I'd awake to find something horrific as many did after Katrina. I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am to write this today knowing that my city is not under water.

It has been an indescribably rough few days. There are a lot of people who understand the emotional roller coaster of this past weekend, and thankfully a lot more who don't. I don't think I've ever felt as profoundly helpless as I did watching the news and seeing that big swirl of wind, rain and tornadoes heading towards my home. To know that there wasn't a single thing I could do to slow it down, stop it or otherwise make it better was intensely difficult. To be so out of control in a situation that could've impacted so many lives was a kind of frustration beyond any words I can find to describe it. The whole weekend I would go from blissfully distracted one moment, to teary-eyed and desolate the next. I took a 2 hour bath on Saturday night just because I couldn't compose myself enough to talk with my friends or even go to bed.

I was afraid that if the storm passed and did not leave the destruction we'd worried about that I'd feel like an idiot for being so emotional, but I think if anything what I've really learned this weekend is how important home is. I was not born in New Orleans, but for now at least, it is my home. It is where I got engaged, where I got my first real full time job, it is where my friends live, it where some of my favorite memories are. And while I have family elsewhere, I would be devastated if anything happened to New Orleans regardless of how my house itself faired. It's just so much bigger than that.

That said, as far as we know, our home is okay. We had a rather gargantuan tree in our front yard and a hammock outside our bedroom window, so we'd love to know if they're still in their original places, but as the story of this week has been, there's just nothing we can do about it right now. Our schools faired well and we'll return on Monday to work and school as usual.

Our parish (which is Louisianian for county, by the way) is not letting anyone return until Thursday at the earliest, so we're still in Nashville playing things by ear. Our home is going on about 30 hours without power, which is not a huge deal except for the stuff in my fridge/freezer which is surely melted and smelly right now. I won't bother listing everything, but let me just say that not throwing out the shrimp and ice cream was probably a horrifically bad plan.

What has gotten me through this weekend has been you. The internet, the visitors, the messages, the comments, twitter and all things related. There is a song I heard last week about how after Katrina "grace fell down like rain" to help rebuild the city and I can't help but think of y'all everytime that song comes into my head. You were grace in my life and I thank you for being here, for reading, for commenting, for praying and for caring. I know I would've survived this weekend without you, but I'm so glad I didn't have to.

Thank you for being my grace.