Sunday, May 10, 2009


Slag and I went to a restaurant yesterday and actually sat at a table and ate! We did not order take-out. I did not shovel down the second half of my meal as fast as possible while Slag waited out in the car with the seat fully reclined. Slag did not end the dining experience contorted into a bizarre-looking, semi-yoga-ish position on his side of the booth.

I'm really really trying not to count my chickens too soon. Slag is still heavily medicated. But things are looking pretty good over here. We may actually return to normal life some day. It could happen. Eating in restaurants, flying on planes, going to movies. Omigod, MOVIES! Seeing movies BEFORE they come out on video. The mind reels.

On a completely different subject, Slag has a very nice-looking, salt-and-pepper goatee going right now. I like it. It started after surgery with him not shaving for a week because he could barely stand up long enough to take a real shower. Shaving required vertical time that he just didn't have. Then he decided to let it grow a bit, to see how it would look. At that point I insisted that he at least shave his neck to keep it looking well-groomed and not like he suddenly became homeless and had no access to shaving toiletries.

But as the beard started to fill in, I started noticing something weird. Everytime I saw his face from a certain angle, he looked a lot like my ex. Or I should say, The Ex.

So yeah, let's be realistic. Any normal, average-ishly-attractive woman who starts dating at 17 and doesn't marry until 37 can be expected to have a certain number of exes. But this was the ex with the big "E". The one who dumped me after 5 years for someone else. The one who initiated the big Ugly Breakup with the big "U" and the big "B." Which led to the Humiliation with the big "H" and the Therapy with the the big "T." That one.

Oh, don't worry. I dealt with everything and moved on with my life long ago, before I even met Slag. I'm not bitter. Really. Nonetheless, it's still not a memory that I need shoved in my face every time I look at my husband.

So what was my point? Oh yeah, so every time I saw Slag from this certain angle, D. popped into my head. It was only fair to clue Slag in. I told him he could keep the whole beard if he wanted to, but I just felt that I had to at least let him know what was going on.

He decided it would be appropriate to modify the facial hair. I think he made the right decision.

The goatee is awesome. It gives him just a hint of that bad-boy look. Once he's completely recovered from the surgery, I'm thinking it will go really well with his hard hat and tool belt left over from his iron working years. Heh.

I'll do my best to get a decent picture of it. I'm hindered by the fact that he hates having his picture taken and also that he has a rule against his face appearing on the internets. So, if I do acquire and post a picture, I will be in trouble. But it's OK. If I slip him an extra pain pill, he may not even remember it. Plus I'm pretty sure I could take him down in his current state of decrepitude. I am not afraid.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Back Update (Finally)

I know, I know. I should have updated everybody by now. Because I'm not feeling very energetic, here's the email play-by-play I sent out to friends and family. Not that all you fine people out in the internet aren't friends and just as interested as everyone else, but I don't know all your email addresses, and, well, that's all the excuses I can come up with. Note that there are plenty of excuses in the email below as well. (Apparently I'm good at excuses.) On to the details.....

Wednesday, 4/22, 4:27pm:

We just got back from the pre-surgery consultation with Slag's surgeon. We watched some patient education videos and gave them some money and signed some forms saying it's OK if the surgeon accidently amputates an ear or a leg. Everything is on for tomorrow morning. Slag is looking forward to the whole thing. I'm a little nervous, especially after hearing about all the possible, though "rare," complications, but it's OK because I'm really good at denial.

Slag is the first patient on the surgeon's agenda for tomorrow, which is probably a good thing. We want him to start the cutting before the fatigue sets in. (I am a little annoyed that we have to be at the hospital at 6am. I REALLY dislike getting up early. Is no one considering my needs??)

Thursday, April 23, 10:50 pm:

Just a note to let everyone know that the surgery went really well. The surgeon said it went exactly as planned and he was very pleased. Slag is in some pain, of course, but he has a morphine pump that keeps it under control. The morphine makes him a bit groggy, but he has been awake enough to crack jokes with the nurses, so I think the worst is behind him.

This afternoon a physical therapist came by and got him started with some exercises he can do while still in bed. In the morning they plan to get him up and walking. I'll send out more info as soon as we have specifics. Right now, the plan is to release him on Saturday if all goes well, which would mean we'd be coming back to Austin on Sunday or Monday, depending on how Slag is feeling. But of course, all this could change.

Sorry, I haven't had a chance to read or respond to all the notes you've been sending, but I'll try to tomorrow. I'm pooped and I'm going to get some shut-eye. Also feel free to forward this to anyone else who might be interested. There were several people I couldn't find email addresses for at the last minute.

Thanks everyone! Jill

Sunday, April 26, 5:56pm:

Hey everybody,

I got into the email list on Slag's laptop and snagged a bunch more email addresses. If you haven't heard from me before, it's because I didn't know your email address off the top of my head.

The update: Slag was released from the hospital this morning. It's a day later than he had hoped, but he was in too much pain after the morphine pump was removed on Friday to consider leaving yesterday. The pain has subsided enough now that the pain pills he has are controlling the pain enough for him to handle it. He's been up and walking short distances since Friday. Friday was definitely the worst.

Things have improved every day since then. While he's having pain from the incisions and from having the nerves in his spine stretched back into place where the disk was collapsed (which is causing some leg pain), he's said that the original pain in his back is much improved. Yay!

We're going to spend tonight here in Plano and plan to head for Austin late morning-ish tomorrow (Monday). The drive will take longer than usual because we'll need to stop every 45-60 minutes so he can get out of the car and walk a bit. I expect him to be really tired by the time we get home. Hopefully he'll have the energy to send out the next update, but if not, I'll try to keep you posted.

Toodles, Jill

P.S. I know I've missed some phone calls from various folks. My phone got really crappy reception at the hospital and it's not much better here at the hotel. Sorry.

Monday, April 27, 5:01pm:

Hi again! The latest news....

Slag had a small setback yesterday evening and was readmitted to the hospital overnight. I'll let him tell the whole story later if he wants to, but let's just say that large doses of narcotics can cause vital bodily functions to shut down completely, and leave it at that for now.

Anywho, he was released again this afternoon and is currently crashed on the couch in the hotel room. He appears to be healing well so far, and he still says that he feels very little of the original back pain. We're going to head for Austin tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

Later, Jill

Tuesday, April 28, 7:45pm:

We're home. We're pooped, but everything is fine. Slag is getting around the house, slowly, but doesn't need a walker or crutches. Thanks for all the calls and emails. I'm sorry I haven't responded to anything. Things are just too frantic (for me) at the moment. :)

I'm sure Slag would love to share the story of his travails, because he's going to be pretty bored in the next few days.

We go back for his two week follow-up appointment on May 6.

OK, that's all I can think of now.

See ya, Jill

OK, that's it. You're all caught up. Slag continues to improve every day. Yesterday evening was bad, because he decided he was feeling better and both increased his physical activity and decreased his pain medication on the same day. Note to self: do not let him do that again. He's back on track today.

Nothing else very interesting to tell. I'll keep you posted....