The stump is gone!!

Today was an interesting day. Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Robbie’s daycare provider (Helen) and she let us know that she was going to be closed until at least 10 today. So I called my platoon sergeant and was able to get out of PT and the morning of work.

So this morning I slept in until almost 8, and Robbie and I had poptarts for breakfast. Then we watched cartoons and played for a while. I was supposed to go to a planning meeting at 11 for an upcomiing ceremony on post. Finally about 10:15, I called one of the other Ops guys and he was able to go to the meeting for me. Helen still hadn’t called. So I changed out of uniform and Robbie and I walked to the post office to mail some stuff and then to the village office to pay our water bill. Since it was lunchtime by now, we stopped at the Church Street Diner for lunch. It was a very nice date! Robbie ate all of his hot dog and chips, and since he had been such a good boy all morning, I treated him to a chocolate chip cookie for dessert. Then we walked home and played for a bit more before naptime. While he was napping, I watched some Tivo’ed stuff and crocheted. Shortly before 4, Helen called, and they will be open tomorrow. It’s a long story about what happened, but I totally understand and I have no hard feelings or anything (as apparently some of the other parents did). So instead of going to work today, I got to stay home and play with my little guy! After Ryan got home from work, we went to the Chinese place for supper and then to the grocery store (hence the reason for Chinese – no food in the house). I’m about to go crochet and watch more TV.

Oh, the stump. Remember the stump the tree removal company “removed” last summer? Well, we got smart and managed to get it to the curb. The village picks up yard waste – and stumps apparently – for free. So they managed to get the stump into the bucket of a front end loader and took it away!!! Now we just need to borrow or rent a tiller and till up the area where all the tree grindings are, get some topsoil, and then plant some grass seed. Yay!! Our yard already looks tons better without that stump sitting in it.

High: 58
Low: 50

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No music

Church was interesting this morning. I’m glad I know the liturgy part of the service because I sure couldn’t read what was in the hymnal. And they weren’t familiar hymns either. But it was still good. After church, we went to Bob Evans for brunch. Robbie and I each had French toast and Ryan had some eggs. It was good food. Then it was to Michaels for some yarn for a baby blanket and then to Herb Philipson’s (a sporting goods/military surplus store) just to look around for a while. This afternoon while Robbie was napping, Ryan and I started watching the race and I crocheted. Robbie got to watch the end of the race, and boy was it exciting! Our driver (#24 Jeff Gordon) won for the 2nd week in a row, and he’s leading the points by over 200 points! Supper was a chicken alfredo thing – from a box. It was really good. Then after playing some more before bedtime, Robbie went to bed and I made my weekly phone call home to Mom & Dad. I crocheted while talking to them and then more while watching Tivo after.

High: 61
Low: 44
Rain all day until late afternoon and then the sun came out and it was really nice out.

The rest of the week

I haven’t been on the comptuer too much since everything is blurry still and it’s hard to see what I’m typing.

Wednesday morning I went back to optometry and she took the “band-aid” contact out. My left eye still looked the same as it did Tuesday, but she assured me that it would heal. She told me to come back in a week for another check. So I went home and changed into my duty uniform and went in for 0930 formation. I didn’t really do anything at work since I can’t see music or a computer screen – I pretty much just sat around all day.

Thursday the band went to the M-16 range, and obviously I can’t shoot yet. So I just showed up at 9:30 to my Ops office and I was able to get a bunch of stuff done even though it took a while. I didn’t have to fight for a computer or a phone, so I was able to get all of my Government Travel Card stuff organized and figured out who needs to fill out which form to get their cards.

Friday was PT – we did pushups (that I didn’t do) and crunchs (that I did). Then the rest of the morning was pretty much just sit around again. In the afternoon I had to go and sit Staff Duty at Batallion for a while as the 2 soldiers on duty were from the band and had to go play the Retirement Ceremony. Once they got back, I left and got Robbie from daycare and we stopped at McDonald’s for supper. Then we came home and played until bedtime. Ryan worked late and got home just before bedtime.

All three nights were TV and crocheting after Robbie was in bed. Thursday night I watched the Boston Marathon that we have Tivoed. Ryan had gone out with some of his friends from work – wing night at one of the local bar/restaurants.

Today Robbie and I went to the Golden Unicorn for their breakfast buffet and then we headed to one of the area high schools for the Arbor Day Festival and Craft Fair. There were lots of neat crafts there, including a lady who paints on slate roof shingles from old houses in the area. She puts a little sticker on the back of each piece (and she had pieces of all sizes) with what building it was from and a little of the history. I got her business card and I think I’ll be ordering a piece called “Soldier’s Home” from her. It talks about this is the home of a soldier and it’s really neat. I just didn’t think to bring my checkbook with me and didn’t have enough cash to get one.

Now we’re home and Robbie’s napping and I think I’m going to go crochet and watch a few Wheel of Fortunes.

Oh – today was going to be a trip to the park to play, but it’s a rainy dreary day so no park for us.

Oh, and an update on my eyes. I’m still living in a blurry world. It might be a touch better, but it’s only been a week. We’ll see how I’m progressing at my next appointment on Wednesday.

Playing catchup: Surgery Day and days following

Last Thursday was my surgery day. I had PRK done – they do that for about 95% of soldiers instead of LASIK. It’s because there is a long-term risk of the flap in LASIK coming undone down the road. Any trauma to the head could cause problems with the flap, and what are soldiers exposed to everyday? So they do PRK on us. We showed up at the hospital about 7:30 and were given lots of eyedrops to numb and dilate our eyes. Then we had to just sit and wait until we were enough dilated for them to do the surgery. I was 4th of the Ft. Drum group to go (there were 5 of us). I was in the surgical room for less than 15 minutes. I was given more eye drops of various kinds, the surgeon made 2 marks at 3 and 9 o’clock on my right eye because of my astigmatism. That way they could line the laser up perfectly on the right axis even if my head wasn’t perfectly straight when I laid down. Then I laid down and I had less than 30 seconds of laser on each eye and then it was done. They did the right eye first, and then the left. For prep, they taped my eyelashes and then used a little metal thing to hold my eyelid open. Then the surgeon took what looked like one of the dentist’s electric toothbrushes and used it to remove the epithelials from my eye. That was rather uncomfortable. I didn’t feel pain, but I could feel the pressure. And I could see it. After the laser was done, they flushed the eye with a saline solution and put more eyedrops in- antibiotics and pain ones. Then they put a clear contact on to help with the healing of the epithelials – it’s basically a band-aid for your eye. After they were done with both eyes, I sat up and I could clearly see the clock across the room.

Once everyone was done, we went back to the hotel and I went to bed. I slept most of the rest of the day and the next morning. I did call Ryan and Mom (tried to call Dad, but couldn’t see my cell phone very well and thought I called his cell phone but I called his shop phone) before I went to sleep. When I would wake up, I’d do more eye drops and more percocet, and then it was back to sleep. But my left eye was in major pain. We finally ended up calling the optometrist on call for that night, and since he lived about 2 miles from our hotel, he stopped by and checked my eye out. He did give me another kind of drop in my left eye and that numbed it so it wouldn’t hurt. He said everything looked ok and that some people just have extreme pain in one eye and none in the other. I took 2 percocet after that and slept all night.

Friday afternoon was our first post-op checkup. My left eye was still hurting some, but not nearly what it had been. My right eye is healing faster than my left eye, but everything looked normal. Once I got back to the hotel, I slept some more. I think it was Friday night that I talked to Rick for an hour on the phone. That was nice! I did manage to crochet for 15 minutes on Friday, so that was nice.

Saturday and Sunday were just resting days. I didn’t sleep as much, and I was starting to see a little better – right eye was mostly clear but my left eye was still really blurry. I watched the NASCAR race Saturday night and I crocheted a little more both days. I made phone calls to Mom & Dad both nights, and I talked to my Grandma in there one night. And I talked to Grandpa one night, but I don’t remember when.

Monday morning was our 2nd post-op check and my right eye was at about 20/30 or so vision. My left eye hadn’t healed as much as they’d like to see, but still normal. We were released and headed home. I read a magazine a little on the way home, but mostly just sat. I got home about 5:15 and my guys were waiting for me. Robbie came running across the yard in his socks to give me big hugs, and Ryan was right behind him. They were both glad to see me. After I had settled in a for a little bit, we headed into Watertown to eat and get Robbie new shoes. His old ones were really soggy from playing out in the puddles the day before.

This morning I went to the optometry clinic on post for another checkup. My left eye pretty much looks the same as it did yesterday. The optometrist put me on quarters for the day and I came home and slept most of the day. When Ryan and Robbie got home, we walked to the local pizza place for supper. It sure was a beautiful day for a walk. Then we played some when we got home. After Robbie was in bed, I crocheted and we watched a little bit of TV.

I’m heading to bed now to rest my eyes.

High: 54
Low: 38

Pre-Op Day 2

I slept in this morning, and boy it sure felt good! I woke up about 9:30, but just laid in bed enjoying the quiet until around 10. I took my time getting ready, came down to use the computer, read for a while, and just lazed around. We headed over to the hospital around 12:20 and at 1 (well, it was actually about 1:30 before we finally got started), they briefed us on post-op care of our eyes, talked about all the different eye drops we have, etc. And then our surgeon came in and explained the whole procedure for tomorrow and answered any questions people had. Once we were done with that, we signed our consent forms and were done for the day. Me and SFC S headed back to the hotel, but we stopped at I-HOP for lunch (at 3:30 is it still lunch?). Then we decided to go out to Ft. Meade so he could go to the commissary for some food. We checked out the PX, too. I just wandered the store looking at stuff – he bought a new shirt. Then it was finally back to the hotel and I called Ryan and Robbie and talked to them for a while. I also called my brother to chat for a while, and I’ve been crocheting all evening. I can see to stitch, but I can’t see to stitch. The light in the hotel room isn’t good enough for me to see 40 ct. fabric. Darn. I’ll be heading to bed in a while because I have to be up early tomorrow morning, but I’m not really sleepy because I slept so long last night.

Pre-Op Day 1

Ok, so I’ll let you in on the secret now. I’m having corrective laser eye surgery done, paid for completely by the Army. It’s being done at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., hence my trip here. Today was part 1 of our pre-op stuff. First thing was to get into their computer system, but that didn’t take very long at all. Then we headed up to the Eye Surgery Center and filled out a little bit of paperwork and then the fun began. We must have been in front of every eye machine there is (except the puff of air glaucoma test one). They took many measurements, pictures, scans, etc. of our eyes. We even were in the room where the surgery will be done on Thursday and got to lay on the bed/table where it’s done. They have a machine that takes pictures while you’re in the position you’ll be in for the surgery. Then they dilated our eyes and did more checks and scans and looked at more stuff. I was the first of the 6 of us done, and I headed down to the Outpatient Pharmacy to pick up all my prescriptions – various eye drops, percocet, and Vitamin C tablets. Then I sat around and waited and waited and waited and waited. The other guys finally started appearing, and got their prescriptions, and left. And I was still waiting. SFC S was the last one down and he’s my ride.

But I had fun people-watching while I was waiting. I saw a lot of retired people, but lots of soldiers (and I include all branches in that since they were in civies and I couldn’t tell what they were) as well, many that were amputees. It was kind of sad. But they were all walking/riding in a wheelchair as proud as they could be. There was even one guy (leg amputee) that was standing (I offered him my seat, and he declined) waiting for his number to be called, and he greeted every retiree that walked by with a smile and a How are you today, sir? SFC S finally showed up and got his prescriptions and we headed back in the direction of the hotel. We were both pretty hungry by this time, so we went to Popeye’s Chicken for lunch. I had bought some granola bars at the grocery store yesterday with the intention of bringing one or 2 in my pocket for today, but I forgot them. Oh well.

When I got back to the hotel, I discovered that my computer has died. Yes, my laptop. I called my brother and he thinks it might just be the backlight for the screen. The computer itself boots up and everything, but you just can’t see anything on the screen. At least I can still charge my iPod, which it needed. After crocheting for a little while, I changed clothes and headed down to the fitness center and ran on the treadmill for 30 minutes. It sure felt good to be moving, especially after sitting in a car all day yesterday and then sitting all morning today at the hospital. I called Ryan and Robbie when I got back up to my room and had a nice talk with them for a while, and then it was shower time. Once I was done with that, I had some yogurt and some of the other food from my room and then I sat down with my crocheting and my phone. I called Mom & Dad and talked to them for a while, and then I called G’ma & G’pa, but G’ma wasn’t home. I had a very nice chat with my Grandpa though! Right now I’m using the public computer in the hotel lobby to do this and check my e-mail and message boards, and then I’ll go crochet for a bit more before heading to bed.

I’ll check in again tomorrow night, but then after that, you probably won’t hear about my surgery until Sunday or when I get home on Monday. They said no computer, no TV, no reading – pretty much nothing with our eyes for the first couple of days so we can let them rest and begin the healing process. Those of you on my message boards, Mom will be posting on the one she posts on, and if you see a post on there and you post on another board I post on, feel free to cross post the message.

And I want to thank you all in advance for any and all prayers and good thoughts this week, and especially on Thursday morning.

Greetings from near Washington, D.C.

Well, today was eventful. Ryan had to snowblow this morning so we could get out of the driveway. The three of us all left together and we dropped Robbie off at daycare and then Ryan drove me out to Post to the Optometry Clinic where I had to be by 8. The roads were less than good, and many schools in the area were on 2-hour delay or closed. Even Ft. Drum was on a 2 hour delay, but that didn’t affect me. We were supposed to get a briefing and then leave around 9:30. Well, because of the weather, they couldn’t get the Government van (15-pax) dispatched, so at 11:30 when they had told all of us to come back (I sat in optometry all morning since Ryan had left to go to work and I had no car), we found out that we might not be going. They gave us the option of either waiting until next Monday or driving down in our personal vehicles. I was originally going to just wait until next week, but then one of the E-7’s (SFC S) offered to let me ride with him. So we got our briefing (there was originally 10, but only about 5 or 6 decided to drive) and paperwork and headed out. I’ll be paying for gas on the way home next Monday. The roads were awful and it was snowy/slushy/icky/windy all the way through NY and into the mountains in PA.

As soon as we came down from the mountains, there was no snow and the grass was green. I guess the grass IS greener on the other side. . . It was still windy and drizzly most of the rest of the way, but not bad. We got to our hotel (about 30 miles outside of D.C. in MD) about 7:30 and got checked in and then headed to Taco Bell for supper. After we ate, we stopped by a grocery store to get some stuff for our rooms – there are small fridges and microwaves in them. I got some fruit, yogurt, milk, water, Wheat Thins, and granola bars. I don’t plan on eating out much while I’m here. And there a continental breakfast here at the hotel, so I don’t need to worry about breakfast at all. There’s also a fitness center here, and I had thought about going for a run on the treadmill, but I think I’m just going to head to bed instead. Gotta get up early tomorrow morning.

Stay tuned until tomorrow to find out why I’m here!!