Holy Pokey Needle Batman!!!

So…did I mention that on Thursday, I’m having an injection into my right knee to hopefully reduce the pain I feel and help increase my mobility? The injection is called Synvisc-One and it’s described like this (taken from the Canadian website):

Synvisc-One goes to work right where the pain begins!

  • Lubricates and cushions your joint
  • Decreases pain and discomfort associated with osteoarthritis
  • Helps you get back to your daily activities
  • Helps protect your cartilage against certain damage
  • Could delay the need for total knee replacement surgery

The only thing it DOESN’T mention is HOW FRICKING BIG THE NEEDLE IS!!!!!!!!!!!


Whoooooooo-wee! Well, it’s a good thing that needles don’t bother me. I have no idea if the doctor numbs the area first or not, but I have been told by the Pharmacist that I should stay off my leg for a few days after having the injection done. Sure wish I’d known that sooner…I have my “Train the Trainer” course on Friday.¬† It’ll be fine…I’ve already confirmed they’ll cover the cost of a taxi there and back (and it’s at the Royal Jubilee hospital, not Victoria General, if that’s what I said in yesterday’s post). I’m also going to use my crutches instead of my cane, and they’ll find something I can prop my leg up on. I’ll take a bag lunch instead of buying something and it’s all good.

The only thing left to worry about is this…


but I’m pretty sure Dr. Winston is fully qualified.

Yeah. Pretty sure.

There is always hope!


…Two Months Later…and counting….

Well, I sure hope y’all didn’t hold your breath waiting for the next chapter in my story, because if you did, you’d be dead now.

I am so sorry I’m such a crappy keeper upper of writing. Partly it’s because I sometimes forget I have a blog and sometimes it’s because I feel so crappy that I can’t write. Mostly the second one. And SO MUCH has happened since I updated last, I hardly know where to begin. So…I’ll begin with the end, and then go from there.

So the answer to the big question is YES…I did survive the wide excision surgery for the mole in the Lady Garden and when the pathology report came back, apparently everything that needed to be cut away was removed, so that’s good. Unfortunately, even at this date (March 4th), there is still an area that bleeds when scratched or rubbed – like the scar tissue hasn’t healed properly. I did have problems with the dissolving stitches not dissolving properly, and the scar itself is rather thick, but I think I’ll need to go back to the Gynecologist for her to have another look at why it’s not healing well. It’s disappointing to me, because this whole experience has felt “wrong” from the very first time I saw the mole, and I just don’t think the story is over, even though the pathology report came back clear. Let’s just say that for now…I don’t think the Lady Garden is totally tended to, and may need some minor pruning still to yield optimum results.

So, what else has been going wrong on that’s been keeping me away from here. Well, let’s see…

First off….HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!¬† ¬†LOL…okay, I realize you’re reading this in March, but it’s been that long since I posted last, so I figured I’d better send out greetings. I truly hope 2018 is a fantastic year for all of you. It’s been a busy year for me so far, mostly with health related issues, but also with a lot of volunteer related activities as well. Ray and I had a quiet Christmas and New Year and then BOOM! right back into the busyness of life.

My year started off with a visit to a Psychiatrist, to determine if I was Schizophrenic or not. Wow…what a way to kick off a year, right?¬† The reason for this is because of hallucinations I’ve been having for quite some time. I can’t even remember if I’ve mentioned them on this blog before, but I hallucinate music, and now, more recently voices and other sounds as well. The music manifests itself often as classical, sometimes jazz or rhythm & blues and often country (and I’m not a fan of country music!). I “hear it” on the right side of my brain, but it sounds like it’s only inside my head, not like it’s coming from outside. More recently, I’ve started hearing voices. It’s not just one voice, but sounds more like talk radio, or a group talk, but I can’t make out individual words or sounds. I know it’s English, but it’s almost like the people are too far away to hear. And I only hear them on the left side of my brain. There’s no one voice trying to tell me to harm myself or other people, or anything similar….and that was how the¬†Psychiatrist was able to determine quite quickly that no, I don’t have Schizophrenia or any other type of mental disorder outside of my Bipolar Disorder. Unfortunately, he also couldn’t tell me why this was happening.

Dr. Leong, my Family Doctor, ordered an EEG to see if there was some type of complex seizure disorder happening, or a type of eplilepsy, or something else that might be causing the hallucinations. It was scheduled for March, so that was great because it meant I could plan a visit to Calgary in January to visit my dear friend Charlotte, and to see my wonderful son Troy….something I had meant to do in November for Charlotte’s birthday like I always do, but had to cancel because I was too sick to go last year. It wasn’t a long visit this year, only 5 days, but they were wonderful days, just being together. I miss Charlotte so much….talking every week just isn’t enough. I so wish I was rich beyond all measure, so I could have a private jet whisk me there whenever I wanted, but I guess it’s only a pipe dream if you don’t actually buy the lotto ticket!

We had a wonderful lunch with Troy…he loves to see Charlotte as well, and we all non- stop talked for the whole time we had together. My boy just gets more handsome as he gets older…he’s 36 now…and yes ladies, still single. He’s dating, but hasn’t met “the one”.


The other reason a March date for the EEG was good was because it meant I’d be able to attend the Quality Forum 2018 in February. It’s a huge Health Care forum held in Vancouver, which I’ll talk about more in my volunteer activities below.

So, back to the EEG – I had that done this past Friday, March 2nd. My technician was a gal named Regan…she was great! Really knew her stuff, had a great sense of humour, so we spent 90 minutes together while she got me ready, did the test, etc. The first part was for her to take a pencil and mark my scalp in a million places, for where the electrodes were going to be placed. Then, she took a dab of sticky glue and glued the electrodes to my scalp and to a few places on my face, finally gathering everything back into one neat ponytail!

After than, she gave me some instructions, such as closing my eyes and spelling my name, opening and closing my eyes, doing some deep breathing for 3 minutes (to a specific pattern, which was REALLY hard at the end – I was practically gasping for breath!!), and then towards the end, she placed a very bright light near the bed and told me that I would need to open and close my eyes at her command, but when they were open, I could look down at my feet and not directly at the light. That was great, except it was bright like a strobe light and I immediately got an occular migraine, with the zig zag pattern, but no pain. It’s not a big deal, and I know it only lasts for 30 minutes, but I was really hoping it wouldn’t happen. Oh well….could have been worse. Then the test was over, and the time had come to remove the electrodes and to clean the goop out of my hair. It actually wasn’t too bad…the stuff felt more like a hair gel than anything. My hair is quite long and straight…the stuff would have worked better on someone with short hair. She said the results would be to Dr. Leong in a week, so here’s hoping there are some answers. The last time I hallucinated was 2 days before the test and she said that things can be picked up even a week before, so if the brain was going to be able to show a problem, it would. Cross your fingers!!!!

I guess the blessing with these hallucinations is that it’s really more inconvenient than anything, but sometimes it all gets really really loud in my head and then I start panicking. The last time it was like that, I put my headphones on and watched 2 movies, trying to drown them out and it didn’t work and I got really freaked out. I found out later, I could actually call the Crisis Line and they could send a team out to help determine how to best help me at that time, so that’s a relief to know for the future. Mostly though, it’s just music in the background of my brain, and I just need to ask Ray for confirmation that it’s happening.

So, there’s been that to deal with. And then the problem with my left Achilles Tendon becoming inflammed has become more of a problem than I first thought and is affecting how I walk, which is causing pain in my new hip joint. I need to go for physio, but I just can’t seem to work it in to my schedule, because it seems like every time I want to try and book it, I’m feeling like crap. There’s a physio place within walking distance, but of course walking hurts, but if I try to take the bus, I still have to walk about the same distance to get to the bus depot. If I use my walker, it’s better than just the cane, so I’m just going to have to buckle down, set a date and go, whether I feel like crap or not. And as for the feeling like crap, that’s coming from all my normal pain issues, plus the added pain from my right knee, that is still collapsing under me with that sharp bolt of pain, even when I have the brace on (which I wear during all waking hours), plus I’m having frequent Trigeminal Neuralgia flareups that are just agonizing (in addition to the pain being felt in my face, it’s causing spasms in my esophagus now as well), AND I’ve developed major pain in my right shoulder and the right bicep/tricep muscles for no reason I can determine. Apparently its Frozen Shoulder according to my Physiatrist, Dr. Winston, and he was telling me that my shoulder capsule is affected by almost 50%. He showed me a stretch to do (while working me over) and holy was it ever painful.


Seriously, it seems like every time I turn around, something else in my body is going wrong. I hate complaining; that’s just not the person I am, but this blog is where I vent and you, my unfortunate readers, get to listen. It’s just so frustrating!!! I am hoping for some relief next week though. I see Dr. Winston again on March 8th, and he’s going to do a knee injection for me of a product called Synvisc-One – it mimics the fluid naturally found in the knee and if it works for me, should help relieve some of the pain I experience from my osteoarthritis. I have NO idea if it will make the collapsing sharp bolt of pain go away, but it would allow me to go with Ray on rides on the motorcycle again and to not have knee pain 24/7. It would also stave off a knee replacement as well. It’s a 2- Injection process…1 injection every six months. We’ve checked, and our insurance doesn’t cover it, so we are paying almost $500 for the cost.¬† I should ask Dr. Winston if there is a similar product for the hips as my left hip will need to be replaced in a couple of years as well. I am also hoping he will have some Botox in stock to inject in my face where I experience the worst of my Trigeminal Neuralgia flareups, in the hopes it will either stop them, or slow down the frequency. I’m waiting to have an MRI done (for my hallucinations and for the TN as well) and then I’ll be able to get a referral to a Neurologist to discuss having the Microdecompression brain surgery to “cure” the TN. It’s a brain surgery where they go into the skull, and put a sponge between the Trigeminal nerve and whatever it’s touching, so it stops firing off all the time.

Plus in addition to all that, I’ve been having some issues with my Gastroperisis which has been making eating difficult, and my Chronic Fatigue has made doing everything and anything soooooo difficult because I’m sooooooooo freaking tired. I can (and have) slept for days on end, getting up only to pee and MAYBE eat something, but I wake up even more tired. When I have had some energy, I’ve been trying to stay active with my volunteer comitments and wow, has there ever been a lot going on there!!!

VOLUNTEERISM…..(I actually get more than what I give…really!!)

As a refresher for what I’m doing as a volunteer right now, I am currently sitting on 2 different committees, plus getting ready to attend a “Train the Trainer” seminar, regarding Strategies in Patient Oriented Research (SPOR).

The committees I’m involved with are both through my involvement with PVN – Patient Voices Network. One is with the BC Patient Safety Quality Council and my role is with the Oversight & Advisory Committee as Co-Chair along with my partner in crime Ben Ridout. We guide the activities of the PVN¬† as well as ensure that patient voices are included in the planning of PVN initiatives and operations, and that patients‚Äô advice and recommendations are considered in all activities.¬† Also, the Committee and the BCPSQC work collaboratively on patient and public engagement, with the goal of improving and promoting the work of PVN.

My second comitment is to the¬†BC Emergency Medicine Network Team – Clinical Resources Committee, which meets quarterly via telecom from around the province. This committee is dedicated to providing the most comprehensive Canadian repository of Clincial Resources and Real Time solutions for BC’s Emergency Room Doctors, Nurses or other medical personnel, in one easy to use location online. These resourses include Clinical Summaries, ECG’s, Patient Information Sheets, Procedural Videos, plus Websites and Apps. We welcome input, and your resources to continue to grow the information we currently contain – visit us at¬†https://www.bcemergencynetwork.ca/

Because of my involvement with PVN and with the BC Patient Safety Quality Council, I was invited to attend an annual event that BCPSQC hosts, called Quality Forum. At it’s bare bones,¬†The Quality Forum unites hundreds of people working in British Columbia‚Äôs health care system to share and discuss how to improve health care quality and patient safety. It takes place over 2 days, with an additional “pre-day” of events. This year, the choices included either a day long workshop on Designing and Delivering Sustainable Improvement, or a huge array of Health Care workshops that were hosted with the Joint Collaborative Committees. In the evening, there was a ceremony to honour the winners of the Quality Awards, celebrating improvements in Health Care in a variety of different categories (in which I was a judge for this year). After the awards had been given out, the annual evening event started – Health Talks!

Health Talks is sold out every year. This year was no exception and with the lively Stephen Lewis as the Host, each of the eight particpants had been invited to answer the same question: What are your hopes for health care?

Rather than just have boring old talks though, the speakers were required to use something called the PechaKucha 20√ó20 format, where each presentation contained 20 photos and each photo was displayed for exactly 20 seconds before automatically advancing to the next one. Everything had to be precisely timed, so you fit your talk into your¬†20√ó20 format, and it was fun to see the creativity that took place as each speaker strove to tell their tale in a way that stood out and connected you. Here is a link to the speakers, so you can find out more about them and what they wanted to share with the audience…each of them was amazing!!!

The main part of QF18 was amazing – not only were there amazing workshops and educational tracks to take part in, there were also incredible Plenary Speakers each day, plus 50 fantastic Story Boards created by various Health Care teams across the Province, each highlighting the amazing work their groups have been working on to improve processes and Patient Care. And food. Oh my goodness, the food!!! I believe there were approximately 950 – 1000 participants at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Vancouver, and they fed us all very well indeed, with breakfasts and lunches on each day of the program, including the “pre-day”. No menu was the same and I don’t think I’ve had a fresher salad than I did there, plated before me on Thursday and Friday!¬† Oh, and I was also reminded just how much I love creme brulee!!creme-brulee-83422-1

Overall, it was an amazing three days of education and fun! I was supposed to fly home on Friday, but there had been snow in Vancouver that morning and my flight was cancelled as Harbour Air couldn’t fly their seaplanes out of the harbour because of the weather. BCPSQC took care of booking my hotel room for another night and booked me a flight on Saturday with Westjet to get home. That flight was scheduled to leave at 2pm, but on Saturday morning, I received notification that it was delayed until 4pm. The hotel let me have a late checkout, so after sleeping in, I took the Skytrain to the airport (I haven’t been on the Skytrain since I last lived in Vancouver, so we’re talking back in 1994!!!!) and found out there were even more delays when I got there (plus a gate change. By the time it was all said and done, I finally got home at 8pm – and literally cried in Ray’s arms when I finally saw him at the Victoria airport. I had been gone since Tuesday…it was a LONG time to be away from him and from Dorie cat. I think I crashed for three full days of sleeping (and getting up just to pee, and then going back to sleep…I don’t even think I ate!) before I was recharged again. It takes a huge amount of my energy to do these kind of trips, but the value in doing them is too important not to.

On the good side though, these Vancouver trips mean I get to see my darling daughter Ashley which is always a treat!!! Doesn’t she look lovely?


I also had the chance to meet with an online friend named Julie. She and I have “known” each other for several years now, but never had a chance to meet before this. She came with a friend to the hotel and we had a lovely time chatting over coffee…and managed to get a great “selfie” together before I had to head back to my next workshop:


So, a HUGE thank you to everyone at the BCPSQC¬†(@BCPSQC¬† #BCPSQC) who sent me to attend this amazing forum. It was wonderful to finally attend, as last year, I was part of the Steering Committee, but couldn’t attend because I was having my hip replacement surgery. I am forever grateful for this opportunity, I learned so much, I had chances to speak up and share my learned experiences, and I made some great new friends as well!!

And if you think all that isn’t enough, I have taken on one more volunteer assignment. On Friday, March 9th, I will be taking part in a “Train the Trainer” program through the BC Support Unit, whose mandate is Advancing Patient Oriented Research. The course material is to teach the Foundations in Patient Oriented Research, as Patients become more involved in their own care, and as health care focuses more on Patient Centred Care.

What is Patient Oriented Research?¬†The BC Support Unit defines it as “research that is done in partnership with patients, answers research questions that matter to patients, and aims to improve health care”. Further to that, the current services that BC Support Unit offers include patient engagement, research methods support, data access & use, knowledge translation, and training & capacity development through¬†webinars,¬†online resources¬†and an¬†annual conference.¬† I’m excited to be able to learn how to facilitate the Foundations course, so patients…and really, that means ANYONE in BC, can learn and understand exactly what Patient Oriented Research is, and why it’s so important to them personally, and to Health Care in general.

I know it sounds like a lot, after reading this, but really, my time commitment isn’t a lot. For the Oversight & Advisory Committee, it’s a few hours for every 2 months, and for the BC ER Network, it’s a quarterly Telecom meeting right now, with some reading materials etc. to go though in between. I won’t know the true time commitment for the Patient Oriented Research after going through the Train the Trainer session, but even then, I have control on whether I’m able to co-faciliate a group or not. I’m very careful to not take on too much, because I know my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome will cause huge issues if not managed properly. I’m just so passionate about helping make change in Health Care so people can have better access to care and treatments and stuff like that, it’s hard to say no sometimes!!

Anyway, I do have something coming up soon that I am REALLY looking forward to….Ray and I are going to take the Victoria Clipper to Seattle, WA for a couple of days in April and while we are there, I am going to be meeting a very dear online friend from the United Kingdom named Carrie Ann Fitton!!!! She is my “Chickie” and I am her “Mum”….she’s the same age as my kids, and I’ve kind of adopted her. She’s quite alone in her life…she had a baby boy who died of cot death and her dad, whom she was very close with, passed away last year, so she’s had a lot of struggles. She doesn’t have much family left and no one that’s close really, except an Uncle she sees, but it’s hard, because he enjoys a drink now and then, and Carrie quit drinking just a shade over a year ago!!!!!!¬† I’m so proud of her! She gone through some very tough times – she’s got some disabilities and uses crutches to get around (much like me and my cane and/or walker) and she’s short and sassy like me, so we’re quite the pair, but I’ve been a Mum figure to her for quite awhile now and I think that’s been really good for her. Anyway, she is flying to the US in April to visit a girlfriend first, and then meeting us in Seattle. She and I will be meeting some other online friends on April 14th, then Carrie and Ray and I will return home to Victoria. Carrie will stay with us until the 21st and then fly home, and while she’s here, another online friend that neither of us has met is flying in from Toronto!!!¬† Tanya is going to join us for whale watching and other touristy stuff, and I am SO EXCITED ABOUT THE WHOLE THING!!!!!!!!!

So, I think that pretty much brings everyone up to date on where my life has been and is at since I left you hanging at the Lady Garden gate last time!!!! I promise…on my honour, to try harder at keeping things more up to date here. I won’t even bother making excuses. I’ll just try harder.

Thanks for being so patient and reading through this schlimazel. Oh….OH!!!!

Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!!

Remember…there is always hope!

ps: Edited to add that I just got an appointment date with the Gynecologist to figure out why my surgery site from November’s wide local excision in the Lady Garden still hasn’t healed properly. It’s on March 23rd, so further updates will follow. And now I have the song stuck in my head from “The Never Ending Story……”

Carry on…



ūüé∂ I’ve Got The Lady Garden Blues ūüé∂


I talk a lot about my health issues on this blog, because that’s a huge part of my life….the various health issues I live with. I thought up until recently that things were going pretty well – my hip was recovering well from the replacement surgery, and even though I’d developed some issues with the Achilles tendon on my left ankle/foot, and my knee was still being a bitch on the right side, overall, things weren’t getting worse with my body. So when I found the mole in the Lady Garden, there was that instant sensation of “oh crap…this isn’t good”….and I was right.

Readers, before I go any further, I want to warn you that I’m going to be talking about intimate parts of my body. I will use euphamisms as well as proper body terms, and I am going to be laying things on the line. If this makes you squeamish, then STOP NOW. Go on over to Jenny Lawson’s blog and have a few laughs instead. None of this is easy for me, but I think it’s important to share this and to be honest, because if it happened to me, it could happen to anyone and I’m a firm believer in education when possible. Okay? Good. Let’s get started.

Now, I know every lady has their own preference for how they like to maintain “the Lady Garden”. I prefer to keep mine trimmed fairly short, but it generally grows quite long before I do anything. Then I have to trim with scissors before using a beard shaver to get it to the length I like. Ray doesn’t care one way or the other and in fact, probably prefers it longer than I do. I just can’t stand an overgrown jungle. It gets caught in my panties, it pinches and pulls and I worry about freshness and smelling good. So, I trim fairly short. Right before I had my hip replacement done, I did an extremely short cut because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to physically manage to do it again for a few months. When I finally WAS able to trim again, I was certain a parade of jungle animals would come sauntering out, the bush was so thick!!!!

It was early July when I set forth on this task and after using the beard shaver to get things to a more manageable level, I noticed THE MOLE (dun dun DUN!!!) for the first time. It hadn’t been there in February, so in only 5 months, it had developed and grown to a size slightly larger than a pencil eraser. It was pebbly on the top and when I scratched at it, not realizing it was a mole at first, it started to bleed along the edge. My heart jumped into my throat and my hands started shaking. This was NO place for a mole, and I am covered with them….moles, beauty spots, brownie kisses, whatever you want to call them. I’ve had several removed over the years, from my neck and my arms, and one lump from my face that turned out to be nothing of concern, but looking at THE MOLE, I knew immediately it was something to worry about, if only because of the location and it’s quick appearance.


I phoned my family doctor immediately to make an appointment and on July 10th, I saw Dr. Leong. When he came into the examining room, we shook hands as always, and then I said to him, “okay, this is how things are going to go. I have a mole. You’re going to look at THE MOLE, tell me I’m an idiot for worrying and send me home”. I could feel my voice quiver and I saw his look of concern. He knows that I know my body well, and if I was worried, then there was definitely a reason to worry. He looked carefully at THE MOLE, using bright light, touching it and moving it and saw it start to bleed a bit. I could see the expression on his face change and when he was finished examining me, and helped me sit up, he said to me “well, I can’t call you an idiot, but I don’t think it’s anything too serious. I’ll remove it and we’ll send it to pathology, but I don’t think you need to worry”.

Ah, the relief!!! I love Dr. Leong…he’s honest and straight forward and I know I can trust him. So we made a follow up appointment to have THE MOLE removed and I left there a happy girl. Now let’s zip forward to July 27th – the day Dr. Leong removed¬†THE MOLE. It was a super easy process…Ray came with me into the room. Dr. Leong froze the area around¬†THE MOLE¬†with local freezing, then did an incision about a half inch around¬†THE MOLE, stitched me up with just a few stitches and we were done in about 20 minutes. I felt nothing and there was no pain afterwards…it was perfect. He told me he’d call me with the results from Pathology but didn’t expect there to be a problem and sent me on my way.

And then I got the phone call a few days later, asking me to come in to his office. It was too soon for the stitches to come out, and there was no way he was asking me to come in just to say everything was fine. Dr. Leong knows that I take the bus to get to his office and that it’s a 45 minute ride for me, so I knew the results meant there was a problem. When I arrived, the two gals at the front desk, whom I’m friendly with, where both SUPER friendly…like, way beyond normal, so that made me even more suspicious. And sure enough, when Dr. Leong came into the examination room, he handed me the Pathology report and the result was something called Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia 3 – or VIN 3 – which is basically as close to cancer as you can get without it being cancer.

Dr. Leong told me he would have to refer me to a Gynocologist for further surgery because the pre-cancerous cells were still showing up on the edges of the removal that he had done. A bigger, wider removal would have to be done, to make sure that ALL the pre-cancerous cells were gone. I sat there for a moment, absolutely gobsmacked. Like, seriously? Do I not have enough crap going on in my life already? I just looked at him and shook my head and he patted me on the shoulder. He said “I know…it’s not what either of us were hoping for. Do you want me to write you a prescription for something for stress or do you think you’ll be okay?”¬† I told him I’d be fine, folded the pathology report into my purse and left the office, still trying to process everything.

Once I got home, I sent Ray a note giving him a brief overview, and then posted an update on Facebook, so that everyone who had been sending me love and support was up to date. A few days later, I received an appointment date of October 5th to meet the Gynecologist who would be doing the wide excision surgery, Dr. Sherri Hancock. In the meantime, I was busy with several Patient Voices Network engagements, including the speech I gave at the Information Governance Conference, which certainly helped to keep my mind occupied. I knew that otherwise, I’d be running to Dr. Google constantly, trying to find everything single thing I could about this condition, called¬†Vulvar Intraepithelial Neoplasia 3. Finally, Oct. 5th came and I met with Dr. Hancock. She was very nice, easy to talk to and gave me a good overview of what the surgery would entail.¬†

Because of the size and type of incision that’s made and the area that this was located (right at the edge of the pubic area, approximately 1 inch from the clitoris), the surgery is done under either a general anesthetic or a spinal and sedation. I initally chose the spinal because it worked so well for my hip replacement, but when I met with the Anesthetist prior to surgery, we decided that a general was better because the surgery was only about 40 minutes long at the very most. She told me that I would most likely be given a surgery date in late October or early November and sure enough, I got the call that November 6th would be the day. I also received all the information on the dates for Pre-op appointments with Anesthesiology and to get Lab work done.

One lovely thing that happened in the middle of all this stress, and all the appointments, etc. is that Ray’s mom Lorna came to visit us for a few days! She stayed in Edmonton first to visit Ray’s sister Rhonda and her family – husband Tom, son James and daughter Paris. Then she came to Victoria to stay with us from October 12th to the 17th. I tried to conserve my energy as much as possible so we could spend as much time together as possible. We went to the Butchart Gardens which was lovely….Ray insisted I use my wheelchair so I wouldn’t exhaust myself and I have to admit, it really is the only way I can do the Gardens now. Unfortunately, at the very end of our time there, literally as we were leaving, Lorna stumbled on the edge of one of the garden planters and fell almost face first, leaving her with a nasty nose bleed and quite a big bruise on her nose and under her eyes. It’s likely she broke her nose, but she didn’t want to have it checked. She had been suffering with a cold, so the nosebleed sure wasn’t helping!!¬† She’s a tough bird, I’ll tell you. There were people around her to help right away…we were ahead of her and didn’t see it happen, and the First Aid attendants from the Gardens were excellent (plus Ray is a trained First Responder). We spent about 30 minutes in the First Aid room there while her nose continued bleeding until she finally felt ready to leave. And then when we did leave, I had Ray drop ME off at the ER, as I’d been dealing with wrist pain all day, after scooping up a bowl of ice cream in the wee hours the night before. I heard a “pop” and felt a horrid pain shoot through my wrist, right where the knobby bone is (on the right wrist), and it was still a bit swollen and painful to the touch. I felt like an idiot when they were filling out the forms and I put down “scooping ice cream” as the reason for the injury. I was doing it on the patient side of the floor, not the waiting room side, so lots of people heard me and were laughing…me too. When I finally saw the Dr. there, he asked me “which ice cream place do you work at?”, thinking I did this for a living. I said “no, no…this was just me at home”. And as soon as I said that, I could see him start to snicker. I couldn’t help but laugh again…it really was a stupid way to get hurt.

Anyway, he sent me to x-ray, and then another Dr. showed me the results – it came back fine, and this Dr. said it was probably just the ligament popping over the bone, which can really hurt but causes no harm. He sent me on my way and as I was leaving, the first Dr. leaned out into the hallway and said, loud enough for everyone to hear “take it easy on the ice cream Sweet Stuff”. Lots of people were laughing, because they all knew about the scooping…man oh man…I don’t embarrass easy, but I’m sure I had a red face!!!

So….Ray came and picked me up…I came home to rest and relax and that’s exactly what Lorna was doing too. She said her nose wasn’t hurting too much and that the bleeding had finally stopped, so that was good. It was such a shame to end the day like that but I’m glad it was at the end of the day, not the beginning!! The rest of her visit was quite quiet…she and I always have lots to talk about, so while Ray was at work, that’s what we did…we talked, we read, and in general, just enjoyed each other’s company. I love my mother-in-law so much and really miss her. She used to live closer to us, but now is in Ontario, and this was likely her last trip out West. We’ll have to do the travelling to see her from now on. We’ve always gotten along well, and she’s always made me feel like part of the family from the very beginning.

So, things moved along pretty fast after her visit and before I knew it, November 6th was here and it was surgery time:


Does she survive Surgery??? Does the Lady Garden live to have another trimming???

I’m posting this now, and part 2 will continue shortly…so I guess at least one answer is yes. Thanks for reading so far!! I know a lot of you have already read all about this from my Facebook posts, but I still appreciate those of you who are following along!

Remember…there is always hope!

Volunteering, Speechifying and Stuff…

Welcome back Dear Readers! Once again, I apologize for letting so much time go by since the last post, but there’s been a lot happening in my life and unfortunately, the Blog tends to take a back seat to everything else. I hope to do better going forward, but for now, it’s time to get caught up on everything that’s happened since I last entertained you.

To get started, let’s take a break from health issues for a little bit and talk about something else that’s a huge part of my life – volunteering! I’ve been an active volunteer in various capacities starting when I was a kid in Brownies and Guides, and then again during most of my working years, especially the years I spent working at Bell. Bell was a major sponsor at the Calgary Stampede, and for those ten crazy days each year that I worked for the company (2003 to 2007), I would go to work at the office for my regular hours (8am to 4pm), then head over to the Stampede Grounds and to the Bell Xperience Tent, where I would pass out flyers at the front from 4:30pm until 10pm or so – whenever we closed. I would dance at the front entrance, make all sorts of new friends and just have a ton of fun!!¬† I even had the opportunity to take a ride in the Bell Lightship as Hostess to the winners of an employee contest to visit Stampede – and they let me bring Ray along as well!!

19Pam  7PamandRay 1PamandRay

There were a lot of other volunteer activities I was a part of during my working days, including the Calgary Corporate Challenge,  Habitat For Humanity, and Blood Donation Drives.

After leaving work and going on Long Term Disability, I wasn’t sure how I could make volunteering a part of my life any longer. I mean, I couldn’t get through my days without needing to nap, I had no energy, no ability to converse with others without losing my train of thought halfway through a sentence – I was deep in depression and as much as I wanted to continue to give back, I simply didn’t have anything left in me TO give. So…volunteering was pushed to the back and left there, forgotten. I worked hard on trying to improve my health physically and mentally over the next several years, working with various Doctors and medical personnel to try and fix everything that was wrong with me. The list is quite long unfortunately and most of what’s on it is “unfixable” – I can find ways to help me feel better, but the issue in question is never going to go away.

I did start to feel better in many ways, and came to a point where I felt I was able to volunteer again, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity. Most of what I had done before had been quite physical and I knew that wasn’t going to work for me now, so I had to be realistic about my new abilities. I came across an advertisement about Patient Voices Network and immediately knew this was the fit I was waiting for. The concept that I, an everyday, average British Columbian, could have an impact on how healthcare was delivered, completely knocked my socks off….I signed up on the spot!

I went through the orientation class and immediately began registering for various engagements that appealed to me. In the four years I’ve been a member of PVN, I’ve had involvement in the following opportunties:

  • Attending the 2014 BC Provincial Dialogue and having my thoughts printed in the PVN Voices of Change | Spring 2014
  • Island Health CSAE PDSA Progress Sharing Update – Island Health – 2014
  • Judge – Quality Awards 2016
  • The ERAS Project (Enhanced Recovery After Surgery) – including the creation of a video – 2016.¬†(I was also nominated by my peers for an award at the 2017 Quality Awards for my work on this engagement.)
  • Member of the Medical Imaging Quality Council – Island Health ¬†– 2016 for one year
  • Member of the Patient Advisory Committee for the Update of the Canadian Guidelines for Safe and Effective Use of Opioids – 2016-2017
  • Member of the Planning Committee – Quality Awards – 2017
  • Information Governance Conference -Sept. 24/17 (opened the Conference by speaking to 175 people)
  • Judge – Quality Awards 2018 – Completed
  • PVN – Co-Chair of the Information & Advisory Committee (2017 to 2018)
  • Involved in a research project with Dr. Morgan Price. The project is looking into Medication Adherence ‚Ästhighlighting motivators and barriers to adherence
  • Patient Speaker – Board Governance Training Program (January 25/2018)

The best part is, I can pick and choose what I want to do, based on how I’m feeling. Most of these committees meet once every two months via teleconference, and occasionally, there is a face to face meeting held in Vancouver which is always a treat. Expenses are covered and I get a chance to visit my daughter Ashley on those trips, usually for lunch on my day of departure.

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 11.50.08 PM

My last trip to Vancouver was just such an occasion. I was invited to give a speech to a group of approximately 175 people, on the topic of Information Governance and why it’s so important that our Health Records be available in all Health Regions in BC, not just the Region you live in. I didn’t realize that was the situation here and spoke on the scenario of what would happen if you had an emergency in an area outside of your home Health Region. Here is the Video of my speech – it was well received and I had many people come up to me throughout the day to tell me what an impact it had made on them and how important they thought it was to open the day like that. I hope you enjoy:


I don’t have a lot of experience speaking in front of large crowds, but because I’ve sang in my barbershop chorus and quartet in my last life, I think it’s made it easier to talk to a big group. I wasn’t nervous at all and I even when I found out it was being videotaped, I didn’t get scared. I think there will be more opportunities for me to speak in the future, so I’ve been going over this one to see what kind of changes need to be made (not sure where that tic noise is coming from, but it’s got to go!)

Anyway, it was a great meeting with great feedback and that’s what I was hoping for. Later that day, I had to excuse myself to return to my hotel room for a conference call with the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council’s Oversight & Advisory Council. It was our first meeting together since I was accepted to the Council along with the other new folks, and yes, this keener was already applying to be the Co-Chair before the meeting was even over (which I ended up getting!). It’s going to be great being a part of this group…we basically guide the activities of the Patient Voices Network, so I’m super excited for the year ahead!!


She’s Alive…Aliiiivvvveeee!!!

Oh my goodness y’all….I am SO sorry that it’s been so long since my last post!!! ¬†I have been so busy since my hip surgery and recovery and every time I would come to sit and write about what I was up to, I’d get busy doing something else, and poof! Away would go my good intentions. I’m so many months behind that I almost feel like I should delete this whole blog and start over again and that way, no one would know how negligent I’ve been…well, except for you…and me. Damn it Jim!! ¬†I guess I’ll just hope my apology is enough and then try and get you caught up on the last billion months since the last post. Speaking of….hang on while I go read it, so I know where to pick up again. Be right back!

* pretend you hear birds chirping and singing while you wait*

Wow…I really DID leave you hanging!! Let me start by saying the new hip is wonderful, it works well and any and all pain that I thought was coming from the new hip is actually related to the muscles that were cut and replaced. Yep, this wanna-be doctor was fooled completely…I was sure that the popping and snapping that was going on was related to the new hip, but when a few sessions of physiotheraphy and the first set of x-rays after surgery took place, I could see that it was a tendon “snapping” as it moved over the new hip…and it disappeared very quickly as my physio progressed. Once I realized my new hip wasn’t going to fall out (a silly but common fear), I was able to attack physio a bit more agressively – or at least as agressively as possible considering the state of my other joints and the arthritis I have in them.

Gradually, as I walked more and did more exercising, everything felt more comfortable. At my last appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Burnett, on August 10th, he released me from his care as everything he needed to do is done. He said that my left hip isn’t ready for surgery yet and as for my knee and the pain and “collapsing” sensation I get, all he sees is some “minor” arthritis, and there’s nothing he can do for it from a surgical viewpoint. More on this later….

So now what? Well, this blog has always stated it’s about Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Invisible Illness. The reason for that is because my body never fails to deliver when it comes to one of those categories.

“But Pamela” I hear you ask…”what else could possibly be wrong with you?”.

“ha ha ha haaaaaa” I laugh maniacally in reply. “haaa haaa haaahahahahhahahaahaha”. ¬†Okay…perhaps a bit too maniacal. Well, the next condition I want to discuss is called Trigeminal Neuralgia. Don’t hurt yourself…Tri-gem-i-nal Neur-al-gia. It is often called “the suicide disease” because it’s so painful – it’s a chronic pain disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve in the face. In my case, when the pain flares up, it feels like a deep ache that goes into my sinuses, my cheekbone, my eye socket and sometimes into the back of my throat. Along with the ache will be sharp stabbing pain, but it’s the aching that is so horrible – I can’t even describe what it feels like, except it’s pure hell. I’ve tried ice and heat to make it go away, but nothing touches it – and none of my drugs work on it…not even my opioid medications. I literally have to let it run it’s course…sometimes it takes a day, sometimes it’s days….sometimes I think it’s going away but then it flares up again…it’s an absolute nightmare and I understand why people kill themselves.

So, why am I telling you this? Because this is one of the next battles to be faced (ha ha) and dealt with regarding my health. I saw my Physiatrist (a Doctor who specializes in Pain Management) today, Dr. Paul Winston, to discuss something he suggested once before for my Trigeminal Neuralgia (aka TN) – Botox! ¬†It has nothing to do with making me look younger, but when used for medicinal purposes, Botox can deaden the Trigeminal nerve, putting an end to pain and continuing flare ups. It’s not a guarantee and it’s not a permanent solution, but if it does work, it can offer some long term relief, with the option of repeat usage. And, when it’s done right, there’s no need to use it on both sides of the face to “balance out the features” because there will be no change in facial structure as there would be if I were using it for cosmetic purposes. Dr. Winston is working with his supplier to get more in, and when that happens, we’ll schedule an app’t and I’ll give it a go.

While I was there, we also discussed the issues with my knee – he had a Resident shadowing him named Chris, so I allowed Chris to do an examination of the knee and ask all the questions while Dr. Winston pulled up my most recent x-rays on his computer (the ones that my surgeon, Dr. Burnett ordered for our last visit). And here’s something interesting…Dr. Burnett considered what he saw as “mild” arthritis in the knee – and nothing that he could do anything about from a surgical viewpoint. Dr. Winston however showed both Chris and myself the x-ray, and the first thing he said was “now, you can see why Pam has so much pain in this knee – she has a lot of arthritis in there…and over here…and up over here…yes, and there too”. ¬†I felt vindicated…it’s not that I don’t trust Dr. Burnett – I know there isn’t anything to be done surgically yet – but Dr. Winston always makes me feel validated.

So, what does he want to do? He wants to inject the knee with Synvisc, a gel type solution that mimics the natural fluids around the knee. This will hopefully help relieve pain and help the knee move easier for at least 6 months, when another injection can be done. He’s also sending me for physiotherapy. And once the Botox is in, we’ll get that happening as well. So, all in all, a productive visit – just the way I like them!!! Oh, and as for Chris – he’s going to be a fantastic Doctor one day. Great bedside manner, excellent knowledge and he’s a total hunk!!! ¬†ūüôā

Whew…I am worn out. I promise…I will start another post soon, because that’s not the end of the health issues…and I haven’t even BEGUN to tell you about the volunteer engagements I’m involved in…yes, I’m back into volunteering!!! Super happy and can’t wait to share with you all soon!

Thanks for reading and remember….There Is Always Hope!

I’m A Happy Hippy, Part 2

Part 2 ‚Äď Post-op – Day 2

After a night of basically no sleep, I “woke up” to experience my first attempt to get out of bed. Wowzers, was that ever a challenge!!! I don’t have a ton of strength in my arms, but in order to get in and out of bed, you need to use them for balance, and strength and pushing, etc. ¬†The nurses were all fantastic at helping if I wanted it, but I’m also so stubborn, I want to do everything myself.

So, using the instructions of the nurse, I was able to sit on the edge of the bed and “dangle”. That’s what they call it – dangling – and it’s important to do that first, to make sure you’re not dizzy and aren’t going to collapse on the floor when you stand for the first time. After I assured them I was okay, they helped me put my Crocs on – easy footwear to slip on and off – and then using my walker, I stood slowly for the first time. I won’t say it was painful, but it felt really weird – maybe because the motion was smoother, since everything fits together properly now. Most of the pain was in the upper thigh and groin area, not the hip, so that was a bit strange. At any rate…I was standing…and all this effort so I could use the portable commode beside my bed, instead of a bedpan!!! ¬†Yes, that’s what this was all about – peeing!


Relief and laughing!! I did it!

Of course, once you get out of bed, you have to get back into it again. And that too has challenges…because of the 90¬ļ restriction, you can’t just bend and twist as you might normally. In this case, you have to back up to the bed, and then using your arms and good leg, swivel yourself into the bed and then scootching over bit by bit. It’s exhausting!!!

And you’ve already seen this one, but yes…it’s the same kind of relief every time you successfully get into bed!


During this day, I¬†was up for most of my meals, instead of having them in bed. Sitting in a chair is basically the same procedure in that you back up to the chair, then put your operated leg out while using the arms of the chair to help you ease down into the seat. It’s tricky at first, but I got the hang of it quickly, and found it much nicer than just laying in bed. It made eating a lot easier too, having the tray right there in front of me.

Almost...Almost!  MookieWatchingMeLaugh

The rest of that day was pretty basic, with the exception of having the Physical Therapy aide come to teach me some movements to encourage healing. I was told I would be able to go home the next day, and I was soooo happy! It’s nice to be taken care of in the hospital (and I was cared for VERY well!), but there’s truly “no place like home”! ¬†And after another night of little sleep, that’s exactly where I went…home, to my hubby and my cat Dorie and my own bed!!!


Dorie keeping my chair warm at home!

And as promised, I was released the next morning. I managed to get into the car without too much pain, but was relieved to be home. I spent the majority of the first week home sleeping in bed, or resting in my chair. I had purchased a cryotherapy unit for icing the hip to keep the swelling down, so Ray was in charge of getting that set up for me each time – adding the ice and water, etc. ¬†If you ever need ice therapy for an extended time, I HIGHLY recommend using a machine like this…so much better than ice bags or bags of veggies from your freezer!!

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 2.07.09 PM

Getting ready to shower…this is after taking the bandage off for the first time. The circular impressions are from the bandage itself. Look at how beautiful that incision is…my scar is going to be almost invisible! Great work!

Over the last couple of months (March and April), I’ve made a great recovery. I’ve had one x-ray, just prior to seeing Dr. Burnett¬†for my first post-surgical visit, and everything seems to be settling in well. I had the staples removed at that point as well – all 53 of them! Everything is healing beautifully and the scar is so thin, it’s going to fade into nothingness with no problems at all. Dr. Burnett truly did a masterpiece of work when he put me back together!!

I’ve been to Physiotherapy twice now to learn exercises to do at home between appointments (every three weeks). These are standard exercises, like the attached (this one is from my second Physio session), but wow, is it ever hard work in the beginning!!!


The only thing I’ve noticed is that I still have a lot of pain in the upper thigh/groin area and just recently, I’ve noticed that my new hip is “popping” when I walk. I’m sure it’s just everything settling into place, and with regards to the thigh and groin…when you consider muscles were cut and moved to accommodate inserting the new hip, things ARE going to feel weird/painful for some time. I do have a bit of a leg length discrepancy…the operated leg feels a tiny bit longer than my left leg, but again…that’s something that could take up to a year to finish healing properly.

The only other “issue” I’ve had with this surgery is the fact that my right knee is also/still a problem. I’ve been wearing a brace during waking hours, but without it, I’ve had frequent incidents where my knee will suddenly “collapse” from under me, with a huge bolt of pain shooting through. I’ve had it x-rayed and the results are osteoarthritis with a “loose body”, but so far, the doctors at Rebalance haven’t felt like there needs to be anything done, other that wearing the brace. I’ve noticed though that even when the brace is on, I can sometimes still feel that collapsing feeling and mildly, that bolt of pain. When I walk, whether with crutches, a cane or without any aid, my gait feels different. I’ll be discussing this during my next visit with Dr. Burnett, which happens in early May.

So…if I had to do this all over, would I? ¬†Absolutely!!! ¬†For the first time in I can’t remember how long, I no longer have the feeling that my hips are being crushed between a vise. Sure, there is still some pain and discomfort, but it’s NOTHING like what I felt before. I’m hoping I can actually decrease the dosage of my OxyNeo Slow Release oxycontin med for pain relief – there’s been that much of a reduction in my overall pain levels. I do still have the pain from my various other problems, but having this hip replaced has helped to diminish a huge part of the pain equation. I’d do surgery again in a heartbeat to get this relief!!

Thanks for following this part of my journey. I will be continuing to blog about life in general as well as the other medical issues I live with, as a source of information and encouragement for others.

So what IS happening in my life, beyond hip surgery?? ¬†Well, let’s see…

I’m A Happy Hippy, Part 2

Part 2 – Post-op

If you haven’t read Part 1, you probably should. It will help familiarize yourself with what’s happening as we move towards Post-op. Go ahead…I’ll wait.

< insert Jeopardy music here>

Welcome back and here we go!

I know that the surgery itself went very well, but I really was quite sedated for most of it. I did wake¬†at one point, maybe¬†when they were positioning me, and I could hear¬†some hammering and a couple of voices talking, but it wasn’t disturbing or upsetting. I remember looking at the Anesthesiologist and sort of smiling at him, like “oh, hi there!”, but before I had time to realize that was my new implant Dr. Burnett was hammering into my leg, I was drifting off to sleep again. That spinal anesthesia/IV Sedation really was quite lovely and I think if I ever have surgery again and it’s an option, I will most definitely take it!!!!

The next thing I remember was a bunch of people moving me onto a bed, and then being rolled into a new room – so the transfer from the Operating Room to the Recovery Room. Because I hadn’t had the General Sedation, I was quite awake once the Anesthesiologist gave me medication to reverse the effects of the sedation I had received in the Operating Room. Again, I wish I’d had my glasses because I would have felt even more like “me”, but I understand the issues with potential loss, etc. ¬†My nurse was excellent in regards to pain control and making sure I wasn’t trying to tough it out. Because of my Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain, I’m already taking long acting Opioid medication and was able to follow my usual drug scheduling leading up to surgery. I am sensitive to Morphine as I find it makes me quite itchy and “jumpy” and I also get very nauseous, which is a problem for me (have I mentioned earlier that I am unable to physically vomit due to a previous stomach surgery? If I am that sick where I am retching and dry heaving, etc. I end up having to go to the E.R. to get a Nasogastric tube shoved down my nose into my stomach to get rid of whatever’s in there, so there’s nothing to puke up. Sorry…that was probably too much information).

Anyway, Fentanyl is typically ordered for me in hospital so¬†that’s what I was given and it worked really well. That plus the fact I couldn’t feel my legs (“you ain’t got no damn legs!”) really did make the time in the Recovery Room go quite comfortably. My nurse would check me frequently to see if I could feel my toes or my knees, etc. and I was finally starting to get sensation back in the left leg after an hour, and then in the right leg about another hour later. I know that the right leg, the operated leg, was more heavily frozen and took twice as long to finally regain all feeling again. It was the weirdest thing, to stare at my toes and try wiggling them, and not be able to do a thing. It gave me an appreciation for what paralyzed people might go through, and how the tiniest movement is so joyful when it happens!

I would like to showcase the¬†latest in legwear – the flattering compression leggings and pumping circulation wraps to prevent blood clots!!! Take a look at this and then the picture beside it shows you why. Don’t look at my tushy (blush blush!) ha ha ha!!!

AllTuckedInAgain!  GREATIncision!!

Blood clots are a major concern after any surgery, but after certain surgeries in particular, total hip replacement being one of them. I wore these leg pumps for the entire time I was in bed, only taking them off to use the bathroom and to walk. Once I was back in bed, on they went. I am on blood thinners for a specific period of time as well.

Regarding the second picture, you can see my surgeon’s initials at the top. There are 53 staples in there and I think the incision is approximately 9 or 10 inches long. It’s absolutely straight and clean and will heal up beautifully!!! No wonder Dr. Burnett is the best!!! To get a better idea of where it’s located, I am laying on my left side, and the incision is on my right hip. The top of the incision is on the left of the picture and if you count off the spaces between the pen markings, my hip bone is between 4 & 5, almost right under the initials.

When I had regained a good portion of feeling back, I was finally moved from Recovery to my room in the South wing of the hospital. I had a private room – not that I had requested one, but apparently 80% of the rooms are private, which in my opinion is quite lovely. I don’t mind a roommate, but I really prefer my solitude, especially because I don’t sleep and I’m up at all hours. I would feel guilty if I disturbed anyone. I’m also fortunate to have Insurance coverage for this too.


The nurses kept me on oxygen the entire time I was there. I had planned on using my CPAP machine, but because I really don’t sleep much in the hospital, I had Ray take it home and just stayed on the oxygen. Here I’m just resting after getting all settled into my room. I’m waiting for Ray to get here…oh, and look. Here he is!!!


And yes, I finally have my glasses back too!!! All the better to see my fantastic husband. How I love this man…he takes such good care of me. I only just noticed after adding this picture how close I came to giving you a peep show with my gown slipping. Geez…you already got to see my tushy…I think those drugs really did a number on me. Time for some sleep me thinks!!! Actually, what I really wanted was food. I was¬†so hungry at this point (I’m guessing this photo was taken around 7 or 8 pm?) but my Nurse Lisa told¬†me that if I ate, I’d probably just get sick and throw it up (aka, get the dreaded NG tube!!) even if I didn’t have a General Anesthetic. I still had drugs in my system and she’s seen it happen enough. I did get some tea finally and then at around 11pm, Lisa showed up with this:


Yes, that was a roast beef sandwich on white bread with butter than I inhaled plus crackers and cheese!!!! ¬†I ate the first half of the sandwich so fast before thinking “oh, I should take a picture for the blog”. Ha ha! It really was the best thing I’d eaten in a long time. Finally, I felt tired enough to try and sleep, so we did one fun go-round with the bedpan (there was no way I was ready to try and get out of bed yet, nor did they really want me to) and then off to the Land of Nod.

Thus ended Day 1. I shall continue the adventure again tomorrow!!!