West Coast Visit!

What did everyone do for Labor Day weekend? We (Ben, my folks, and myself) went to San Francisco for the week. We left Friday, 9/1 and returned Friday, 9/8.
The last time my parents were in SF was back in 1985, so they hadn’t been there in 30 years. Back in 1985, my dad lived in SF for about a year and while he was living out here my mom went out to visit him. He was there to help open up a new restaurant. My dad used to be a chef/cook and back in the day he would travel all over the place to help open up or head up Chinese restaurants.

My dad at the opening of the Hong Kong Seafood restaurant in 1985...what's the deal with that facial hair?!?

My dad at the opening of the Hong Kong Seafood restaurant in 1985…what’s the deal with that facial hair?!?

The last time I was in SF was in October of 2013, just a couple of months before my accident, with a few of my girlfriends for a bachelorette trip. Aside from Ben’s parents’ condo down in Delray Beach, FL, this would be my first time re-visiting a location that I’d been to before I lost my legs.
We flew into San Jose, CA the night of Friday, 9/1. It was 100+ degrees!!! WTF?!? We flew into San Jose because we had a wedding to attend on Saturday in Los Gatos, in the Santa Cruz mountains. It was forecasted to reach 110 degrees the day of the wedding! YIKES.
The wedding was held at Nestldown. https://www.nestldown.com/ The ceremony started at about 3:30pm…right when it was about 106 degrees. OY. At least it wasn’t raining…? As hot as I was, I can only imagine how hot it was for the men in their suits. Other than the weather, the wedding was great! The venue, the food, the decor…everything was beautiful!…such a fairy tale wedding.
The ceremony was held amidst some Redwood trees. The cocktail hour was set on the other side of the property, right along one of the stops for the little train that they have that takes you on a tour of the entire property. The bride and groom made their entrance to cocktail hour as husband and wife by arriving in the train…so cute! After cocktail hour we headed to dinner, on yet another area of the property, an open and airy grass area…so pretty! After a delicious dinner, we headed inside to the barn for dessert and dancing!
Here are a few pics from the wedding…
Waiting for ceremony to start!

Waiting for ceremony to start!


Beautiful backdrop

Beautiful backdrop


Mr. & Mrs. Scott and Klara Lee

Mr. & Mrs. Scott and Klara Lee


The new Mr. & Mrs.
Beautiful setting for the reception!

Beautiful setting for the reception!


Klara & my Bro My brother's single...Any single ladies or anyone know of any single ladies interested? =)

Klara & my Bro
My brother’s single…Any single ladies or anyone know of any single ladies interested? =)


Beautiful

Beautiful


Congrats again Klara & Scott. We had a blast and were so glad that we were there to celebrate your special day with you! XOXO
The day after the wedding we went to Klara and Scott’s post-wedding BBQ and then drove into SF and checked into our hotel. The following day, Monday, we did a little bit of shopping and browsing right by our hotel before heading down to the pier for our night tour of Alcatraz. We were just killing some time before heading down towards Fisherman’s Wharf so our shopping and browsing was pretty uneventful…except…for one little interaction. The big Macy’s in SF was located about 2 blocks from our hotel, so we headed over to walk around. We took a look at the Boudin in the Cellar, Ben got his Ben & Jerry’s milkshake, and then we headed to the elevator to go upstairs. BTW…I had my prosthesis on and was in my wheelchair for this excursion. As we’re making our way towards the elevator, I see an open elevator that a woman had just entered. I yelled, “Hold the elevator, please!” and sped up my wheeling. As I wheeled ahead to catch the elevator, my mom followed behind me, followed by my dad and Ben. As I entered the elevator and made a U-turn to face the door, the woman (prob in her 60s, early 70s – not much older than my parents) who was holding the elevator shouts, (don’t remember verbatim) “OMG!!! OMG!!! I CAN’T. I CAN’T. I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE! GET OUT OF MY WAY! GET OUT OF MY WAY”…as she basically pushed my mom aside so she could escape from the elevator. Uhm…ok…WHAT just happened?!? Followed by my, “Uhm, ok” I shouted to her, “Have a nice day!!” Ben had just made it to the front of the elevator as the woman was running out, so he said, “That was f***ing rude.” I wasn’t offended or hurt, mostly because I didn’t really care. There’s nothing wrong with me and if you have a problem, well…that’s your problem. I have no problem educating people, answering people’s questions, sharing my story, or anything along those lines – but if you have a problem because you’re ignorant and act accordingly, well then…you can go F*** yourself. Sorry, not sorry. It was the most bizarre thing. Usually people are curious, shocked, amazed, unsure, or might be frightened (because they don’t know what they see). But in the 3.5 years since losing my legs, I’ve never gotten a reaction like that!…not even when I used to be in my wheelchair sans prosthesis…and in a city like SF, where there are plenty of veterans! I saw more homeless in wheelchairs, some even amputees, than in any other city I’ve been in! Her reaction from seeing me didn’t seem like it was was a trigger or PTSD related but more like I had gotten on the elevator with some deathly, contagious disease. This doozy of a story should really be in my next post about how people suck…
Moving right along…after Macy’s, we headed down to the Pier. We strolled around Fisherman’s Wharf, saw the sea lions, and had some soup in a bread bowl from Boudin. When it was about time, we headed down to Pier 33 to wait to board the ferry to Alcatraz Island. As we were sitting and waiting at the pier for the ferry to return, we noticed a few pesky flies that kept circling and landing on us. We didn’t notice any garbage cans in our vicinity, so we were ???. Some of you who have been to Alcatraz around this time of the year, may know where this part of our Alcatraz story is going…
Once the ferry arrived, we boarded and took our seats. More flies…like, A LOT. I decide to sit outside so I can watch as the boat pulls away from the pier…and hope to get away from the flies…no such luck. As I’m sitting outside, one of the boat staff comes out so he can help direct the captain. He and I start chatting and I ask him…”Uhm…so what’s with all these flies?!?” So…Alcatraz is home to a variety of birds. Taken from https://www.nps.gov/alca/learn/nature/index.htm…”Long before humans set foot on the island, Alcatraz was home to thousands of nesting birds. The first humans to interact with these birds were Native Americans, who hunted and possibly collected eggs for food. The name Alcatraz itself came from a European explorer who named one of the islands in the bay ‘Island of the Seabirds’ for the multitudes of avian life he observed. Years after the prison’s closure in 1963, Alcatraz is now a sanctuary for seabirds such as cormorants and pigeon guillemots, and for waterbirds such as snowy egrets and black-crowned night herons.” One of these birds is the Cormorants and starting in mid-August, thousands of cormorant flies hatch from the bird colonies and swarm the area. They’re nicknamed zombie flies. They were everywhere. Luckily, they aren’t around once you enter the prison, but OMG, they were everywhere and it was disgusting. The captain of the boat even told the ladies who had long hair to shake out their hair before getting of the boat and returning to the mainland. YIKES. I was definitely brushing my hair throughout the duration of the return trip back to the pier! Here are some pics from “The Rock.” I had to force my mom into the cell with me to take a picture. She was not happy about it. Mom – you’ll be able to get out…they won’t be locking you in here…
View of SF as we head to Alcatraz Island

View of SF as we head to Alcatraz Island


Moms

Moms


On the ferry heading to The Rock. I'm surprised a zombie fly didn't photobomb our pic!

On the ferry heading to The Rock. I’m surprised a zombie fly didn’t photobomb our pic!


Welcome to The Rock

Welcome to The Rock


Mom and I sharing a cell

Mom and I sharing a cell


Ben putting Mom in solitary confinement

Ben putting Mom in solitary confinement


View of SF from The Rock

View of SF from The Rock


The next day, Ben and I had brunch at Plow, right near the Dogpatch area of SF. Plow is on a corner and both of the intersecting streets is either a major uphill or downhill. I could only stand exactly on the corner of the street while we waited for our table. Had we parked the car on either of the immediate intersecting streets, I don’t think I would’ve even been able to stand up and get out of the car because the hill would’ve been too much for me! Oh, SF and your your hills…Plow had a good brunch! Go check it out of you’re in town. www.eatatplow.com/ After brunch, Ben and I drove around town a little bit. We stopped by Liguria Bakery to pick up some foccacia bread (It was yummy…https://www.yelp.com/biz/liguria-bakery-san-francisco – it’s saying it permanently closed…not sure if that’s right…), drove down Lombard Street, drove up to the top of Coit Tower, and then picked up my parents from the hotel so we could go and visit my brother at the MLB office. He gave us a tour of the office and their rooftop. After hanging at his rooftop for a bit, we dropped by dad off at the hotel and the 4 of us headed to the Oakland A’s baseball game. My brother had secured tickets for Ben and I in the 100s section for Tuesday’s game the week before we arrived and then the day before the game he was able to get 2 more tickets, but these tickets were behind home plate! Since he’d been in those seats before and my Mom was just tagging along, Ben and I took the tickets for the seat behind home plate and my brother and Mom sat in the 100s section seats. The Oakland A’s stadium is an old stadium and isn’t exactly the most accessible. In order to get to the seats behind home plate, I would have to walk to the elevator, take the elevator down 2 floors, walk down a small decline, then walk down 10 stairs, then another small decline, and then 10 more stairs. To avoid this, they drove us to our seats. Yup…we were driven to our seats. They put us on a golf cart…and drove onto the field. Pretty cool…Too bad it was the Oakland A’s stadium. =P Hehe…I kid. Check out some pics! I tried to attach the video that I shot while Ben and I were on the golf cart…but the video file was too large to upload…womp womp womp.
A's vs. Angels - behind home plate

A’s vs. Angels – behind home plate


View from behind home plate!

View from behind home plate!


Foul ball that landed in the my Mom and Bro's section. I spy a big ol' butt... =O

Foul ball that landed in the my Mom and Bro’s section. I spy a big ol’ butt… =O


Although we were driven to our seats, I still had to do the whole stairs, incline, stairs, incline, and elevator routine if I needed to go to the bathroom. I went once before the game started and made sure not to drink too much so I wouldn’t have to do it again! All in all it was a fun experience and it was my first time to an out of state ballpark! Thanks Bro!
On Thursday, we took a trip out to Sonoma, which was about an hour drive from the city. We drove out to Cornerstone Sonoma, a wine country marketplace with shops, boutique wineries and tasting rooms, artisanal foods, and art-inspired gardens. http://www.cornerstonesonoma.com/ We had lunch there, did a couple of tastings, bought a few bottles of wine, and walked the gardens. The grounds were lovely! Here are some pics from that outing…
Mom & Pops amidst the crops and flowers

Mom & Pops amidst the crops and flowers


Gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma

Gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma


So much purple!

So much purple!

After Cornerstone Sonoma, we drove into town and checked out some of the local shops and then we headed back into the city…not before stopping off at a See’s Candy Shop so that my could pick up some candy to bring home! =) It was still a little early for dinner when we got back into the city, so we took my parents to check out Lombard Street. When I described it to my parents they didn’t know what I was talking about, so we took them to see it. We drove down the street and then when we got to the bottom, I told them to get out and see it from the bottom. You don’t actually get the full sight of it when you’re in the car driving down the street, so you have to view it from the bottom and look up. We snapped a couple of obligatory photos and then they got back in the car…to which they said…”This street must be new. I don’t remember this when we were here.” Uhm…No guys…it’s not new and it was here…even way back 30 years ago. Are you sure?… YES, parents…it was here. My parents…
Mom & Pops on Lombard Street

Mom & Pops on Lombard Street


And then it was Friday. Our week in SF was up and it was time for us to fly back to the East Coast! Hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to SF and weren’t too bored by my stories or my pics!
Thanks everyone!…’til next time…

Catch-up

Hi all!

Can’t believe it’s September already! I’ll give everyone a round up of the last few months so I can catch everyone up on what’s happened and then I’ll follow up with a post on our week long, West Coast trip!

My brother moved out to San Francisco (hence the week long trip out there, as mentioned above) at the beginning of March. He got a promotion with MLB to head up the replay office out there…so, off he went!
I got 2 new tattoos. Back when I was in the hospital, my cousin (Annie) and her daughters (Amanda and Morgan) had discussed all of us getting a tattoo – same tattoo for all of us…something that symbolized/recognized my journey since the accident. 3+ years later, I finally decided on something to get. I already have 2 tattoos and was done with tattoos, but those ladies kept asking me when I was going to decide on a tattoo for all of us to get. So, I finally gave in and I decided on a tattoo for all 4 of us to get. The one that we all got is a symbol that loosely translate to…where there’s a will, there’s a way.

where there's a will, there's a way...

where there’s a will, there’s a way…


Amanda's tattoo

Annie's tattoo
And then I got an additional one for myself. This symbol is the Swedish symbol for Malin and the loose translation is…you have to face setbacks, in order to go forward. I got this one on my neck, in white ink.
You have to face setbacks in order to go forward...

You have to face setbacks in order to go forward…


If you come across a different meaning for these symbols…don’t tell me! Mmm..maybe tell me…? I don’t want to end up like one of these people that walk around with a tattoo of a Chinese symbol/character and think it means one thing when it means something completely different! Luckily, the one on my finger is small and the other one is on my neck and in white ink…so, hidden…for the most part. =)
Ben had surgery on his nose. He finally got his deviated septum fixed. He’s snoring much less and when he does, it’s much quieter! It didn’t make the snoring go away 100%..but a vast improvement. Thanks Harrison!
Ben and I went to an NYPD fundraiser with some of my NYPD ESU buddies and while we were there, Ben bought a bunch of raffle tickets. He threw a few into each of the prizes…and what do you know?!?…one of our raffle #s was called! We won something! A pretty good something…Round trip airfare on JetBlue and a hotel package in Vegas! Since we had just been to Vegas last November, we gave our Vegas hotel package to Ben’s parents and we saved the RT airfare for ourselves. Pretty sweet! I, we, never win anything! Thanks for inviting and taking us with you, Bobby! XOXO
In May, we went down to Asheville, North Carolina. We flew down for Amanda’s college graduation from Mars Hill University. Asheville was nice. Graduation was nice. We did a lot of eating while down there. Fattys. =) CONGRATS again, Amander. Proud of you!
July is a month of events for us…Ben’s birthday, my birthday, and our anniversary. This year we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. 10! Ben made a reservation for us at the River Cafe, down by…the river…in Brooklyn. It was our fancy, adult dinner. =)
My dad celebrated his 70th birthday on August 24th! The big 7-0! We celebrated with dinner at Bowery Meat Company down in the Lower East Side. Here’s a pic of him after dinner, with his birthday dessert!
Happy Birfday Pops!

Happy Birfday Pops!


Did everyone see the lunar eclipse? We didn’t really, either…haha. We tried. We went to Fort Totten, which is about 5 minutes for our apartment, and attempted to catch a glimpse of the eclipse. Fort Totten is next to the Cross Island Expressway. It’s a former, active, military base that’s now a park that surrounds the preserved, Civil War fortress. We arrived with snacks and were ready to see the eclipse. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the proper glasses and didn’t realize that you needed the glasses in order to see anything eclipse related. I thought all the hubbub was that you shouldn’t stare at the eclipse if you didn’t have the glasses, but not that you wouldn’t actually be able to see it. D’oh! So we were standing around like a bunch of a**holes waiting and waiting and waiting…I was like, I have the timeline of the eclipse and it should be happening now…but nothing. And it didn’t help that it wasn’t getting darker. Luckily, there were people at the park with the glasses who were nice enough to let us borrow them and take a peep. The second we put those glasses on….Woah! What a bunch of idiots. Haha! Good thing we asked to borrow their glasses…otherwise, it would’ve been really anti-climactic and pretty disappointing. But, we had snacks! Can’t have a proper viewing party without some snacks!
2017 Lunar Eclipse

2017 Lunar Eclipse


End of August, beginning of September means it’s US Open time again! I signed up this year to volunteer again and was chosen. Due to the ongoing construction over at that tennis center, which led to the repositioning of many of volunteer booths, many of the booths were smaller this year. I didn’t volunteer at the USTA Membership booth this year, like I did last year, but but still had a lot of fun at my Subscriber Central booth. Hung out with some really nice, fellow volunteers, met some really nice USTA/US Open employees, and met some nice fans…except for one tool. Let me explain. Quick backstory first. Most of my and my fellow volunteers’ role at the subscriber central booth consisted of helping season ticket holders scan their subscriber card at the little scanner stanchion that was located in front of our booth.
So…I’m sitting in a chair next to the scanner stanchion and these two guys come up to our booth, who are season ticket holders (Season ticket holders have their ticket in a clear holder that’s attached to a lanyard that they wear around their neck.) and they start talking to one of the US Open workers in our booth. The two of them were probably in their early 20s, probably under 25, but at least 21, since they were drinking alcohol. As the two of them are chatting with the US Open worker, my fellow volunteer asks if they’ve tried to win today’s prize. He asks what prize? I tell him that subscribers/season ticket holders could scan their card once a day for a chance to win the $50 gift card. I ask if he has a card. He replies yes. Here’s where it gets good. He’s holding his drink in one hand and then reaches for his wallet from his back pocket with his other. Well, now both hands are full. One hand needs to hold the wallet and the other needs to get the card out of the wallet, but that second hand is still holding his drink. What does he do? He just hands the drink to me and waits for me to take it out of his hand…uh..excuse me? What the F***ck?!? No words, just hands his drink over to me. No – Can you hold this for me? Do you mind holding this for a sec? Or how about…just give your drink to your friend to hold OR just put it down at the counter that’s a foot in front of you?!? Since I’m “working”, I take the cup and then place it onto the counter. And then like 2 seconds later, his friends picks up the drink, takes a sip of it, and places it back on the counter. So oblivious. Back to the original douche…he’s scanning his card but it’s not working. So I ask him, “Have you registered your card yet? If you haven’t registered it, that may be the reason it’s not scanning.” To which he pulls yet another classy move…following my words, he just holds his card in front of me. Again, no words…just puts it in front of me and expects me to take it from him and take care of his problem. What is wrong with people? Learn some manners…you rude, oblivious mofo! Other than that, the Open was great! =)
I didn’t get to hang out and watch as much tennis as I would’ve liked, but that’s because we left for San Fran a few days after the start of the Open. Here’s a pic of my friend Wade and I…Team Orange! Thanks for helping me get food and walking me to and from my car! XOXO Thank you to Mary for getting me coffee from the lounge and brining it to me at our booth! And big thanks to Jaime and Hakim for helping me get to and from the parking lot to the gate!
Wade and I in Grandstand at USOpen

Wade and I in Grandstand at US Open

And that concludes my recap of the last few months.
Stay tuned for my post about our trip out to the West Coast…complete with pictures! Post should be up by the weekend!
That will be followed up by a post that I’ve had in my drafts for a bit now. Spoiler alert – it’s going to be about how people suck…not all…but there are some special people out there (said with tone of sarcasm, a bit of side eye, and a smirk…) =)

Thanks for following, reading, and sticking with me!

Hello 2017!

Hi everyone!
Sorry for being MIA for SO long. I fell out of the groove of posting and didn’t realize it would be so tough to get back into the groove. Since my last post was about 6 months ago, there’s a lot to catch up on!…here’s a recap of the last few months…

August 2016
Ben and I drove down to Baltimore to visit his cousin. It was way too hot…and I didn’t even get to take a dip in the hotel pool. This was also around the time that I was casted as an extra on a popular cable TV series..more about that later!
I attended my first Bruce Springsteen concert with my cousin, Annie. Bruce was great. MetLife Stadium and their staff were very accommodating. After we got our tickets scanned and went through security, an attendant came up to me and asked if I needed a wheelchair to take me to our seats. “Sure!” Crowds of people not paying attention to where they’re going, a potentially long walk to our seats, not knowing where we needed to walk in order to get to our seats…Yes please, I think I’ll take the wheelchair ride and escort! He took us to our seats, dropped us off, and when the concert was almost over, he came back to pick us up and wheeled us out to the parking lot. Awesome! All of that went off without a hitch. However, the concert experience itself, was not exactly drama free. It probably happened within the first hour of the concert. We had seats in the handicapped section of our section, which meant you either sat in your wheelchair (if you brought your own) or you sat in a folding chair. The handicapped section is at the top of the stairs of your section. So, our seats are at top of the landing with a railing in front (that also holds the cup holders) and our feet are at the heads of the people that are in the row directly below us. ( I hope that description made sense…) There were a pair of guys to our right (probably in their 20s) and a couple below/in front of us and the guys. One of the guys had his beer in the cup holder and went to take the lid off of the cup. The beers are sold in clear solo cups with lids on them. I guess the cup was filled to the top and when he removed the lid, there was some beer that “sprayed” onto the woman in front of him. She turned around and said something to him and it seemed like he apologized. It seemed like this was an accident, but after that, I was watching from the corner of my eye, for any “suspicious” activity. Cut to, oh about 15 minutes or so later, and the guy is telling his friend about the incident. Mind you, I couldn’t really hear what they were saying, but I could tell that that’s what he was talking about b/c of what followed immediately after. Next thing you know, the friend takes the lid off of his beer, holds the lid over the woman’s head, and then proceeds to shake the lid so that beer splashes onto her. Now, I’m sitting there thinking, ugh….WTF?!?…why was that necessary, you idiot! The woman then turns around and is visibly annoyed. The two guys act like nothing happened and say it was an accident (which it clearly was not). The guy the woman is with then gets involved and now the four of them are shouting at the top of their lungs and saying ridiculous things back and forth to each other. After a couple minutes of shouting, the woman grabs the guy’s beer (the guys are sitting, b/c our seats are half a level above the couple, and the couple is standing with their backs to the stage) and throws it at the guy! It gets all over the guy…AND gets all over my right foot and leg. And that was followed by a “WHAT THE F***?!?”, from yours truly. The guys had the audacity to point towards me and sort of give this look and motion of, “Look what you did!!” to the woman. Uhm, no, you don’t get to do that when you were the A**holes that escalated it! Luckily…my leg is waterproof! What is wrong with people?!?

September 2016
I volunteered at the US Open. It was my first time volunteering at the Open. I met some really nice people, watched some great tennis, and overall, had a lot of fun. I worked at the membership booth, which was indoors, thankfully, since there were some really hot and humid days! My friend Wade, who’s a volunteer veteran, was my partner/helper in crime. We’d meet up at the end of our shifts, grab dinner, and then watch some tennis. They were long days…tiring and fun, but long days! If I can, I hope I can volunteer again this year! See below for some pics!

US Open

US Open

Wade and Teena US Open 2016

Wade and Teena US Open 2016

Wade and I taking some pics while on duty

Wade and I taking some pics while on duty

Wade Teena Bobby US Open 2016

Teena Tim Bobby Wade US Open 2016

In September, we threw a baby shower for my good friend, May. I was in charge of making the diaper cake. My first time making a diaper cake…not too shabby…have a look below. What do you think?! And I have to make sure I give my mom credit (even though she won’t be reading this), for helping me with some of the sewing aspects in making the cake…THANKS MOM! If anyone is in need of a diaper cake, Mom and I are available to take requests. We can work out a good rate! =)

Mom and I working on the diaper cake

Mom and I working on the diaper cake


Diaper Cake

Diaper Cake

October 2016
Mom and I went apple picking up in Warwick, NY, about an hour and a half or so north of the city. Mom did all of the picking. I’d never gone apple picking before, not before my accident, or after. I’d been strawberry and cherry picking, back in the day, but it had been a very long time. It didn’t occur to me that the terrain wouldn’t exactly be flat or smooth (not sure why I didn’t think of that), so I wasn’t able to do any of the actual picking since all of my attention and energy had to go towards walking and making sure I didn’t trip over any apples. Mom went to town on those apple trees. She’d walk down a row and then disappear among the trees. Eventually, she reappeared, walked back to me, and the bag was FULL of apples. I’m not even sure how she managed to carry it back by herself! And she wasn’t done! She wanted to go back, but the back was full. So, I told her to take off her jacket, tie up the sleeves, and then use that to get some more apples….heh.
Apple Trees

Mom and her bounty!

Mom and her bounty!

I went back to MetLife Stadium in October, this time for the Beyonce concert. Concert was originally supposed to be in September, but was pushed back to October b/c Beyonce had some vocal issues. Morgan (Annie’s youngest daughter) went with me. We got to our seats and she said to me, “I’m going to every concert with you!” To which I replied, “You, too, can get this treatment if you lose both of your legs!” We had a lot of fun and I remembered to bring my ear plugs, so I wasn’t deaf at the end of the concert!

Me & Morgan (photo courtesy of her Snapchat)

Me & Morgan (photo courtesy of her Snapchat)

Beyonce

My last thing for October…

Ian's Construction Cake

Ian’s Construction Cake


I conceptualized (Not that it’s a complicated design..) and decorated this ice cream cake (From our store, Maggie Moo’s on Bell Blvd. in Bayside…go check it out!…that was my “plug”! Hah) for my cousin’s son’s 4th birthday. Construction themed! I hadn’t decorated a cake from start to finish in ages…what do you think? Cookie dough as rocks, some crushed Oreo cookies as dirt, a four shaped out of fondant and decorated to look like the road, and a couple of construction trucks filled with “rocks” to finish out the theme!

November 2016
As for November…we went to Vegas. But prior to the Vegas trip, which was at the end of November, I saw Hamilton on Broadway, had a pigeon hit our car, and went to a Friendsgiving dinner down at the Jersey Shore.
I saw Hamilton with Ben’s mom…it was amazing! Educational, entertaining, great music, and great cast. If you can get your hands on some tickets, definitely check it out.

Stage

Stage

Cast of Hamilton, post show

Cast of Hamilton, post show

Ben and I had just gotten on the highway, to head down to the Jersey Shore for the Friendsgiving dinner we were attending, when, BOOM!!!, a pigeon hit the passenger side of the windshield. I was driving and just heard this loud noise that sounded like a rock at hit the car. I had seen the pigeons from afar and then saw something fly towards the car from the corner of my eye, but didn’t really think anything of it, until the loud THUD. I thought the windshield was going to have a crack in it. Luckily, it didn’t. Not so lucky, was the pigeon. His/her friends had successfully made the flight to wherever they were going, but this guy…met his/her demise via our windshield. I think the reason our windshield didn’t crack was b/c the pigeon flew into the car from it’s side, as opposed to straight on with it’s beak. It was kinda gross, since it left a clear imprint on the windshield, which we had to drive with, for the entire drive down…we were worried that if we sprayed the wiper fluid and turned on the wipers, we might smear the stuff all over and spread it across the windshield.

RIP pigeon

RIP pigeon


On a happier note, Friendsgiving was great. Lots of food, great company, and great weather! It was like a 60 degree day! I decorated a beach themed cake for this dinner, but didn’t get a pic of it…
Group photo...Friendsgiving PPB 2016

Group photo…Friendsgiving PPB 2016


Ben, myself, my parents, and my brother went to Vegas. The last time I was in Vegas, was over 10 years ago. Not that that trip was wild and crazy, but this was a much more tamed and grown up trip to Vegas. No late nights, no clubbing, no drinking, no strippers…We ate (nothing off the strip, except for a quick dinner before the Cirque show), took a day trip to the Grand Canyon, gambled, saw a Cirque Du Soleil show (my first), and just relaxed. The Cirque show was amazing, quite a production. The gambling was good, since we came out on top, not by much, but being up, no matter how little, is still better than being down! Ben and I stick to black jack when we gamble. I played the slots a little, but I never have any idea what’s going on, I just push buttons, so it’s gets boring pretty quickly. Food was good. I picked places that weren’t on the strip, since anything on the strip we could either get in NY or it would be terribly over priced. The Grand Canyon…what a sight!..and there was snow up there!…in Arizona! The tour we took was awesome. It was a private tour, so just me, Ben, my parents, and our guide. It was a mini van, so he was able to take us to areas that the big tours and their big buses don’t have access to. We weren’t sure if we should take my wheelchair and stick it in the trunk, in case I’d need it…and we weren’t sure if some of the terrain or space would even be accessible for my chair. So, we decided to leave the chair behind at the hotel, and I would wing it…if there was anyway that I could, we would figure it out and I would, and if I couldn’t then I’d stay behind…turns out, there wasn’t an area that he took us to where I wasn’t able to navigate! A successful trip!
Ethel M. Chocolate Factory's Chocolate Wall

Ethel M. Chocolate Factory’s Chocolate Wall

Group pic at Grand Canyon

Group pic at Grand Canyon

Help!

Help!

Me & Ben at the Grand Canyon

Me & Ben at the Grand Canyon

December 2016
Almost all caught up! Nothing much for December…Hanukkah and Christmas, a visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and an anniversary.
The third anniversary of my accident. Three years. Three years went by so fast. Sometimes you think, wow, it’s been three years, already? Then other times it feels like it was just yesterday. And then there are those times, when it’s just…
This year, we happened to go visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum on the day of my anniversary. Neither Ben or I had seen the Memorial or been to the Museum. There was so much to see and so much information that was provided…videos, pictures, stories, TV footage, etc. The reflecting pool is huge, both sad and peaceful. The museum is fairly big. We used one of their wheelchairs, which was a good decision, since there was a lot of ground to cover and some areas were crowded with a lot of people. It’s sad and can be depressing, but it also shows how resilient we are…Never Forget.
9/11 Museum

9/11 Museum Quilt

9/11 Museum Quilt

January 2017
Happy New Year! Is it time to stop saying it yet?
Not much for January. We started January 1st off in pretty boring fashion. Ben and I spent New Year’s Eve on the couch, watching TV, (watching Mariah Carey act like a total diva) with our mugs of green tea…at least we stayed awake!
Oh right, me being cast as an extra on a popular cable TV series..I held off on mentioning anything about it in my last post b/c I wasn’t sure if I’d make it on screen or if I’d end up on the cutting room floor. While we were in Baltimore, one of my brother’s friends reached out to me. Someone he knew worked for a casting agency and they had heard that Showtime’s Homeland was looking for extras and asked if I’d be interested in trying out for it. I said, “Sure, why not?!” He sent me all the contact info and I reached out to the agency that was doing the casting for Homeland and sent them all the necessary info and some pics of me. The next day or so, I got an email asking if I wanted to be an extra as a wounded veteran on Homeland! They were filming for season 6, which takes place during the fall, but filming was done back in August. I was so worried that I’d have to be in fall clothing in the middle of August…luckily, everything that day was shot indoors..whew! AC is my friend. If you watch the show, you’ll see me in the first scene of of the first episode of Season 6. I’m also in the background of another scene at around the 00:39:25 mark..blink and you’ll miss me in that scene. I walked by Claire Danes (Carrie) at least 10 times and I chatted with Rupert Friend (Quinn), who is married to Aimee Mullins, who is an amputee. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aimee_Mullins

Homeland Season 6, Episode 1

Homeland Season 6, Episode 1

So now, when people ask me if I’m a veteran…I can say, “No, but I played one on TV!” =)

I know I still have to tell you all about my fancy, skin legs, but that requires a post dedicated to just that topic. But otherwise, I think we’re all caught up now.

Thanks for reading! Sorry for the long break between posts….and for any spelling or grammar errors I didn’t catch…long post.

Goodbye June & July…Hello August. Part 2 (July)

Part 2…
Ben turned 40 on July 8th. We had cake at home on the actual day and then went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate over the weekend.

Ben and his Billy's cake!

Ben and his Billy’s cake!


Dinner at Supper

Dinner at Supper


The rain didn’t put a damper on that night. Dinner was great and drinks after were just as fun!…except when I almost had to punch a couple of 20something year olds out! When I’m in places that have tight spaces and a lot of people, it’s usually better if I have an escort. In this case, two. I had to use the bathroom and since it was located across from the bar, which was down a hallway filled with people who were hanging out at the bar, I had two escorts. Ben’s cousin, Jaye, walked ahead of me and led the way and my friend, Wade, walked behind me. Usually when I’m “escorted” at a bar, someone walks in front of me saying something like, “Excuse me…can you make some room?” and dirty looks are given (like…what’s the matter, you can’t fit?!?), until they see me trailing from behind. And in usual fashion, this is what happened with most of the people we encountered on our walk to the bathroom. But these girls, took it a step further. Both Jaye and Wade weren’t rude. They were very polite and weren’t pushy, apparently, these girls just thought that their s**t didn’t stink. Jaye politely asked if they could step aside so I could walk through. They stared him down and then stepped aside. Then I followed, right behind him, and she proceeded to extend both her arms out and make this motion with her hands as if saying, “Here you go, is this enough room?” Maybe she couldn’t tell that I had prosthetics b/c it was very dark in the bar, but my crutches were very much visible. And in any event, it shouldn’t matter. So I paused, looked at her, and said very sternly, “Calm the f**k down.” and then continued my walk to the bathroom. Get that stick out of your ass…

“Manhattanhenge” – sometimes referred to as the Manhattan Solstice — is an event during which the setting sun is aligned with the east–west streets of the main street grid of Manhattan, New York City. This occurs twice a year, on dates evenly spaced around the summer solstice.

View from Long Island City

View from Long Island City

Isn’t it gorgeous?!?
Manhattanhenge 2016
On that same day, we also ran into ECTO-1!!!
Who you gonna call?!?

Who you gonna call?!?

It looked like they were doing some press in the actual car, so they drove it around while doing the interview…two birds, one stone. Pretty cool.

The second wedding we attended was in July, on a farm in NJ. It was the wedding celebration of one of my closest girlfriends. The terrain of this wedding was a little more difficult to navigate, but once I made the trek to flat ground, all was good. Bride and groom looked beautiful and despite it being super hot that day, we had a great time! Love ya Steph!
During the wedding, Steph came up to me and told me that her friend, Dina, wanted to meet me and if it was ok if she introduced us…Sure! (Dina – It was great to meet you and can’t wait to get together!) It’s always super humbling when someone wants to meet me b/c they know “my story”, what happened to me, and follow my blog. I always feel like I’m not worthy, b/c you know, I’m just doing my thing, trying to figure out life as my new normal. Always appreciate the praise and acknowledgement though, and happy to meet new people and answer any questions they might have!
Since the wedding was in South Jersey, a bunch of us stayed overnight at a hotel nearby. The hotel and room were great, the shower, not so much. One of the first things I do now, when checking into a hotel, is check out the bathroom situation, specifically, the shower. I need to see if it’s a roll-in shower or tub, and if it’s a tub, I need to make sure the hotel provides me with a shower chair or bench. I asked the gentleman at the front desk about the shower while we were checking in and he told me it was a tub shower and that the tub had a bench attached to it that folded down. Oh, ok..great! Ok…now take a look at the two pics below..
IMG_1314
Not exactly handicapped friendly...
You look at the first picture and you think, “Oh, it’s got all these bars in the shower…great! It must be super accessible!” But upon further inspection, I think to myself, all these bars must just be a distraction or diversion to throw you off the foolishness of the rest of the shower design. Note where the handheld shower is…all the way at the top by the shower head that’s in the wall. Yes, the handheld is on a sliding bar, but if it’s positioned all the way at the top, unreachable to someone that may be fully wheelchair bound, the fact that it’s on a sliding bar, is, irrelevant. See picture 2 for such a scenario. I’m not fully wheelchair bound, by any means, but I take off my prosthetics prior to getting in the shower. So when I go to take a shower, I am wheelchair bound. Ok, let’s say for argument sake, the handheld wasn’t positioned all the way at the top and I could reach it. Now, let’s refer back to picture 1. If I were seated on the bench, that’s attached to the wall, all the way at the other end of the shower, how am I supposed to reach the handheld shower head from there?…am I to use my Go Go Gadget Arms?!? Last I checked, I’m not Inspector Gadget, so that’s not possible. Oh, and last, but not least, when we turned the water on, it came out from the shower head that’s attached to the wall, and in order for it to come out of the handheld, you had to push the button…wait for it…that’s attached to the top of the wall shower head! WTF?!? Ok, I wasn’t alone, so Ben was able to bring the handheld shower down and give it to me once I was seated on the bench. And even then, it barely reached. I had to lean forward just so the handheld could reach my back.
Now, let’s say I was by myself. How would this play out?… I take off my prosthetics, get undressed, and wheel into the shower. Oh, I can’t reach the handheld. I guess I’ll have to get dressed and call the front desk. Hi..can you send someone up b/c I can’t reach anything in order to take a shower! Said person will come to my room, bring the handheld down, wait as I turn on the water and wait for it to be at the optimal temperature, and once at the right temp, push the button on top of the shower head so that the water will transfer over to the handheld. Oh wait, you can’t leave just yet. Now I have to transfer from my wheelchair onto the bench. Once I’m seated on the bench, you’ll have to hand me the handheld, b/c even though you brought it down and off of the sliding bar, I can’t reach it from the bench. And now, I’m sitting in the shower, fully clothed, holding the handheld. Now, you can leave…thanks. And now, I, will have to loop the handheld through one of the bars, get undressed, and pull the shower curtain all the way over to the other end (not sure how I’m supposed to get that accomplished solo..as I had Ben pull it once I got it b/c I couldn’t get it to reach all the way) and start my shower. Once I’m done with my shower, I’ll need to take certain steps if I have/want to shower again. Yes..the fun is not over. I’ll need to make sure I loop the handheld through one of the bars again, so it’s readily accessible for the next time. I grab the towel and dry off a little, before getting back into my wheelchair. Once out of the shower and in my wheelchair, I can roll over to the other end of the shower and shut the water off. I mean….really? Don’t they test these rooms and set ups out? It doesn’t seem like someone actually tested out the shower set up, but instead, had a checklist of things that were needed and just installed them. IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE!

The day after my birthday, we went up to Greenwood Lake, in upstate NY. One of my friends, one of the ESU (NYPD) guys that saved my life, lives up there and his family runs a Bed and Breakfast…WATERSTONE INN. Go and check it out! Book a stay! Tell them Teena sent you =) Teehee.
http://www.waterstoneinn.com/
Had such a great time just hanging out and relaxing. I wasn’t able to go swimming in the lake, since I was lazy, and didn’t pack an extra set of liners..next time. But…I did get on a waverunner/jet ski (I don’t know the difference…) for the first time! I’d never been on a waverunner before, even when I had my legs. It was awesome. Sean had me drive a bit..it almost feels like driving a motorcycle in the water. Not that I’ve ever driven a motorcycle either…but I assume…since you have to lean into your turns and it drives better when you go faster, like a motorcycle. Thought I was gonna send myself flying or tip the two of us over, luckily, we didn’t end up in the water.

Waverunner!

Waverunner!


Cloud Porn

Cloud Porn


Derek Jeter's house

Derek Jeter’s house


Atop of  Bellvale Farm

Atop of Bellvale Farm

Gotta go back in the fall. Apple picking season! Visit the vineyard, drink some wine, pick some apples (I’ll watch, while others pick!), do some shopping (they’re only about 25 min from Woodbury Common Outlets)

Some randomness…we were on a shopping trip at Target, when we came across this..

Interesting...

Interesting…

Ben and I picked up the book and started flipping through it, just to see the kinds of scenarios that were in there, and what does he end up flipping to..?!? Hah…coincidence?

And last, but certainly not least, I got my “skin” legs. I think I may have to make this a 3 parter. I want to show everyone pics of the legs, but I also want tell you all about the process of having them made and share pics of the process. I want to give it it’s own post.
I will try and get that up before the weekend is up. Stay tuned.

To Be Continued…
A sneak peak..

Real or Prosthetic?

Real or Prosthetic?

Goodbye June & July…Hello August. Part 1 (June)

I hope everyone’s been enjoying their summer. I can’t believe half of the summer has already come and gone.
Since my last post…I’ve been to 2 weddings, celebrated Ben’s 40th birthday, saw “Manhattanhenge”, had my 34th birthday, got on a wave runner for the first time ever (!), and got my “skin” legs!
But first, a few things that I left out from my last post b/c I only focused on the trip recaps…Blue Man Group show, concert at Forest Hills Stadium, and Property Brothers book signing!
Saw the Blue Men of the Blue Man Group with Momma and Poppa Katz. The show was a lot of fun!
Blue Man Group Outting
Ben and I went to a concert at Forest Hills Stadium in June. It was the “Disclosure presents Wildlife” show. There were multiple performers. It was a nice day, the venue was nice, I met Havoc of Mobb Deep..we had a good time!
Disclosure Presents Wildlife

Me and half of Mobb Deep

Me and half of Mobb Deep



Once we were in the venue, things were ok, but getting to the venue itself…forget it. So, per my usual routine now, when going to a place I’ve never been to before, I tend to do research according to my checklist: Is there going to be parking? Is it going to be street parking or will there be a parking lot? How much walking will I have to do from the car to the entrance?, etc. We used to live in Forest Hills so we’re very familiar with the area, the parking, and the streets. But, when we lived in Forest Hills, they had yet to renovate the stadium to hold concerts, so we weren’t familiar with what the streets would be like the day of or how they would handle the traffic. I went onto the Forest Hills Stadium’s website and the only informative info that was on there was, “The best way to arrive to Forest Hills Stadium is on public transportation. Strolling from the subway or LIRR along the streets of Forest Hills is a part of the iconic venue experience.
Please note: there is no parking at the venue or on the streets near the venue. For your own convenience, please do not plan to drive here and park.”
That information was under the section of the site titled, “Get Here”. Well, for my own convenience, I will drive there and park! And then under the FAQ section, “Is there accessible seating at Forest Hills Stadium?
Yes, we have an ADA/handicapped area at the stadium. Patrons in need of this area should select the ADA ticket type when checking out.”

Well, ok…not very helpful and nothing I didn’t already know. So, with this minimal amount of info, I decided to do a drive-by the day before. Turns out, there was a concert the day before, so I was able to ask the police that were there that night about the street closures and get a visual of what the area was going to look like. Cut to the next day…Luckily, we were able to get a pretty decent spot on the street. That was about the only “easy” thing about getting to the venue. There were more streets closed for the night of our concert than there were for the concert the night before. Great. Turned out to be a 0.5 mile walk from the first street closure to the actual entrance of the venue ( I mapped it on Google Maps when we got home to see exactly how far the walk was). We parked a block from the first street closure – so that was inconsequential. Now, a half of a mile walk, would have been nothing to me pre-accident, and it’s not the end of the world to me now, but there was ABSOLUTELY NO assistance or even any offer of assistance during that entire walk. No wheelchairs offered. No golf carts. Nothing. Now, we get it…The neighborhood around the venue consists of all private streets and they don’t want attendants of concerts to ruin the area. Fine, but by closing off a 0.5 mile area around the venue, not allowing cars to enter the closed area for drop offs, and then not providing assistance, it makes it really hard for me to go back there for any future events. By the time we got to the entrance, I was drenched in sweat and needed to fix my prosthetic ( I actually needed to fix it before I even made it to the entrance.). And here goes the next obstacle..the venue only has porta-potties, fine if I needed to just pee, but I wasn’t sitting down or touching anything in there. So…let’s just get to our seats and I’ll figure it out there. Once we’re taken to our seats, I realized there really wasn’t any private area where I could fix my prosthetic. I needed to fix my right prosthetic, which goes all the way up to the top of my thigh and in order to fix it, I basically needed to be out in my undies for that side of my leg. So, I asked Ben to get me some paper towels. I put a couple of sheets underneath my right leg so I wouldn’t have to directly touch the seat, and then I took my prosthetic and my liner off. Sat there with half my booty exposed and did what I needed to do. Gave ZERO f**ks. Then when I was done, I asked the staff, is there no assistance provided for the walk to the entrance of the venue. I was told that there’s a drop off spot, but when I asked about this at the entrance/exit when we left the venue, they didn’t seem to know what I was talking about. I had Ben carry me, piggy back style, for half of the walk back to the car b/c I was worn out from the day. So, Forest Hills Stadium – we had a great time at the actual show and the grounds are lovely. But, if half of a mile of streets need to be closed, please recognize that you need to provide some sort of assistance for that walk. (i.e. When I go to Cit Field, I can flag down a golf cart and they will give me a lift to the gate that is closest to the section my seats are in.)

We met the Property Brothers (Drew and Jonathan Scott) of HGTV in June at a book signing in Barnes & Noble. Yes, there are still B&Ns open out there. =)

Property Brothers book signing

Property Brothers book signing


They were super friendly and nice..and really tall! I put together a little pitch to present to them, b/c I’m a nerd. I asked them if they’ve ever built/renovated a house that was for someone that’s handicapped. They said they had, but not for the show and that they encourage people to apply. I went…”I’m right here!!” If you’re curious and want to see the pitch I put together for them, click on the link below!
On-The-Next-Episode-of-Property-Brothers
And if anyone reading this, has any contacts at HGTV or with the Drew or Jonathan…feel free to send them my way or pass along my info!

The first wedding we went to was in June at Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua, NY. It was the wedding of one of my friends from high school. She looked gorgeous and the wedding was beautiful! It was the first wedding, post-accident, that I attended, where I needed to “dress up”. I must’ve tried on at least 5 different dresses to see what would work…something that was comfortable for me to walk in, that didn’t make me look more large and in charge than I already am (with my Serena arms), something that was dressy enough, and something that wouldn’t lead me to sweat like a pig. Looking for clothing pre-accident was a breeze compared to what it is now. To think, looking for clothing that wouldn’t accentuate my broad shoulders was a problem…pshhh….that was nothing. Now, that’s the least of my problems when shopping for clothing.
There were some stairs and a slightly, uneven, grassy area that I had to contend with, but overall, manageable. I even got in a little bit of “dancing”…in quotes b/c I don’t think I would’ve called what I did dancing, prior to my accident. Hah! But all that matters, is that I had fun doing it!

Us with the beautiful bride!

Us with the beautiful bride!

Read Part 2 for the recap of my July happenings!
– Wedding, Birthdays, “Manhattanhenge”, and wave runner adventures!

Trip Recaps and the Latest Happenings

Hi there!

I hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day Weekend and is enjoying the start of their summer!
Let me fill you guys in on what’s happened in the last month and a half…

I went to Charleston, SC in April and New Orleans, LA in May. Both of these cities, were cities I’d never been to before, pre or post accident. I’d been to both LA and Florida before the accident, so going to both those places, post-accident, didn’t involve as much pre-planning, as I was familiar with what to expect out there, to a certain degree.
April – Charleston, SC
I went down to Charleston, SC with a few of my girlfriends for 4 days & nights. It was my first post-accident trip without Ben and with my girlfriends. The airport and flight portion of the trip went off without a hitch. Getting in a cab and leaving the airport to get to the hotel wasn’t an issue, either. Overall, the majority of the trip went fairly smoothly. I think the main “issue” I didn’t foresee was how much I needed to be in my wheelchair, not because I couldn’t walk or anything like that, but because it just wasn’t “convenient”. I wouldn’t say that the sidewalks/streets of Charleston were not handicap friendly, but I wouldn’t say they were, either. It’s an old city, so it was expected that the sidewalks or streets wouldn’t be the most accommodating. A big part of being on vacation is to just walk and explore the area…and this is where the convenience issue comes into play. Even though we were staying in the center of town and located within “walking distance” of a lot of things, I ended up having to take my wheelchair out and about with us. Even though things are close, it’s hard for me to walk and explore aimlessly. Although it has been 2 years since I’ve been on prosthetics, I’m still adjusting. So…it’s hard for me to walk without a plan or set destination because I won’t know what the terrain of the streets and sidewalks will be like, how crowded the sidewalks will be with people, how wide the sidewalks will be, and if I can keep up with my friends. Factoring all of that in, I wheeled around in the wheelchair, but brought my crutches along in tow for when I wanted and could use them. This wasn’t the most ideal, since I felt like I was being a burden to my friends, but we made it work. THANKS Jenn, May, and Steph! xoxo.
Charleston was good prep for New Orleans…
May – New Orleans, LA
The Charleston trip and the need for my wheelchair while there, prepared me for New Orleans. Learning from my Charleston experiences, coupled with the planner and anal retentive sides of me, I researched where we were staying and the French Quarter, probably a little more than necessary…Knowing that we were in the French Quarter and “within walking distance” to everything, meant almost nothing to me. Sure, it was a bit helpful, but phrases and words like, within walking distance and close, no longer have the same meaning to me anymore, as they do everyone else. So, this meant that I…Printed out a map of the French Quarter, marked where our hotel was, marked the top spots of places I wanted to see/eat/do within the French Quarter (don’t get all excited..it wasn’t more than 8…I’m not THAT crazy), then calculated how far said things were from the hotel, then determined if it was walkable or if it would require the wheelchair. And then last, but not least, it if was walkable, I’d go to Google and map out the walk via Google’s street view, so I could get a sense of what the sidewalks/streets would be like…ok…maybe I am THAT crazy. And with all that said and done, I still ended up doing the riding the wheelchair and taking the crutches combo because it was either too hot or too crowded with people. I attempted to walk around the French Quarter the first night we got there, to get a drink at one of the bars, but after 2-3 blocks…I was almost completely drenched in sweat (sexy!) and tired of navigating amongst all the drunkards.
We did walk/wheel around quite a bit, ate a lot, saw both a Jazz Show and a Burlesque Show, and definitely got a feel for the people and the Southern hospitality. We had oysters (raw and char-grilled), beignets (from Cafe Beignet and Cafe Du Monde), jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, gumbo, po-boys, coffee, hurricanes, etc! Oh..and the frozen cafe au lait from Cafe Du Monde….I mean, I can’t even….it was DELICIOUS! However, I think I liked Cafe Beignet’s beignets over Cafe Du Monde’s beignets. I’d go back to New Orleans just for that combo…Cafe Du Monde’s frozen cafe au lait and a couple of beignets from Cafe Beignet….*drool* (It doesn’t help that I’m writing this post during dinner time…). I currently have another window open to see if there’s a Cafe Du Monde cafe au lait recipe/mix…hah.
IMG_0967

IMG_0970

Musical Legends Park

Musical Legends Park

Cafe Du Monde break...YUM!

Cafe Du Monde break…YUM!

Tulane Graduation

Tulane Graduation


One other thing to mention, before moving on to current and recent happenings. During one of our Uber rides down in New Orleans, we met a driver named Chris. During the drive, I was asking him about the best way to get to the Super Dome for the graduation (We were in New Orlean’s for Ben’s cousin’s graduation from Tulane.) and what time we should head out…blah blah blah. At the end of that trip, he gave me his card and told us that he would pick us up at the hotel and take us to the Super Dome. Sweet..I didn’t have to worry about ordering an Uber first thing, Saturday AM. On Saturday morning he called to confirm and then showed up right on time. As he started driving, he started chatting with us. (This was almost 3 weeks ago, so it may not be word for word…) He started to say something about how he asked my husband for permission first, if it was ok to make this presentation to me…I wasn’t sure where this was going, but I got the feeling it was going to be something sappy and sweet. So, as he continued, I said something along the lines of, Chris, I don’t know what you’re about to do, but it’s barely 8AM, so it’s too early in the morning for me to get choked up…Chris is ex-Military, a former Navy Chief, and coincidentally, also worked at our hotel when he was a kid, for over 10 years. He began his “presentation” about his time in the navy and then about strength and bravery and how I demonstrated all these things. He was telling me about how he had been thinking about how to make the presentation during his drive to pick us up and that he was very nervous and wasn’t even sure if he should do it. I was COMPLETELY caught off guard. Totally unexpected and not ready for that kind of emotion at 8AM on a Saturday. I don’t think I’m retelling this story properly and doing it or Chris justice. It was so sweet and I was so honored. See pin below.USN

As for what else is going on…Bad news – still looking for a job. Good news – getting skins on my legs!…which basically means, my “legs” will look like legs and not robot legs! I will try and document the process so I can write about and have visuals for everyone!
Oh and in case anyone hasn’t seen this yet on The Today Show or on social media….
http://www.today.com/parents/watch-girl-cry-tears-joy-after-getting-doll-matching-prosthetic-t96226
Big Shout Out to A Step Ahead Prosthetics…my prosthetic place. SO proud of them for all they do and so glad they got so much coverage for this wonderful thing they’re doing for these amazing kids!

Home


https://www.facebook.com/AStepAheadProsthetics/

Packing and Traveling

Hope everyone is enjoying Spring so far!

The girls and I leave for our trip to Charleston, South Carolina in 3 days. We leave from JFK on a 7am flight…ugh…just the thought of having to get to the airport/get up at that hour is horrifying. I sent my girlfriends a short email with some FYIs and some heads up information since this will be their first time traveling with me since my accident. Some of the bullet points in the email: I’ll have my legs on but will be in my wheelchair at the airport, so I’ll need you guys to help carry my bag and crutches. You will definitely see me in my underwear and you might see me naked – apologies in advance. I’ll probably take 2 showers a day.
With my mom’s help, I did my first round of packing this weekend. Yes, I said first round of packing. I have a process when it comes to packing. I’ll pack, unpack, reorganize, and then repack. Sometimes this happens more than twice, but I try and keep it to only twice. The multiple repacking sessions helps me to get rid of “unwanted” items. I’ve always been an over packer and since the accident, I have extra “accessories” that I now need to pack, which makes the overpacking that much more annoying. Usually, when Ben and I travel, I try and pack all our stuff in a checked bag, even if 2 carry-ons will do. Since he has to carry everything, it’s just easier to put it all in one bag that will be checked. I know the rest of the girls will only have a carry on and I don’t want them to have to wait for me and my bag, so I tried my best to make it all work in a carry-on. So, I literally pulled out clothes, tried on all outfit options, and then packed only the outfits that worked and only what clothing was “necessary”. I don’t have everything I need to take packed in the suitcase yet, but I think I’m going to be able to make everything fit into the one carry-on…woot woot! What’s wrong with me?!?…it’s only for 4 days and it’s not like we have anything extravagant planned..I have issues. Hah. Pics and stories about the trip when I return!

Slight digression, but still somewhat on topic…Since I was talking about traveling as I started to type this post, I called up Delta regarding our trip to New Orleans in May for Ben’s cousin’s graduation. If I book flights online, I usually call the airline as we near the trip date and since we’re currently a month away, I gave Delta a call. I give them a call so they can help assign me seats that are as close to the front of the plane as possible, which makes for easing boarding, trips to the bathroom, and deplaning. When I’ve dealt with JetBlue regarding this, the phone call is usually pretty straight forward and isn’t usually a big deal. I tell them that I’m handicapped and then ask then if they can give me seats as close to the front of the plane as possible. If they ask what my handicap is, I tell them, and then sometimes they ask if I can walk and/or if I’ll need a transfer chair. I tell them yes, I can walk, and no, I don’t need a transfer chair but being as close to the front of the plane makes life a little easier. They assign me my seats and we’re on our merry way. Previous calls to Delta aren’t as quick and easy as with JetBlue, but still pretty easy and quick, for the most part. This particular phone call took about 40 minutes, 15 minutes of holding before someone came onto the line, another 15 minutes of holding during the actual call, and probably about 10 minutes of actual dialogue. The conversation went a little something like this…Anything in “(…)” are my thoughts during the call.
Me: Hi. I currently have flights booked for travel from NY to New Orleans for May.
Delta: Yes, I see those reservations. How can I help you?
Me: The reason I’m calling is because I’m handicapped and would like your help in assigning me seats as close to the front of the plane as possible.
Delta: Ok. Let me take a look. Would you like bulkhead seating or seating in rows 1-3, or economy comfort seating?..
Me: (I’ve never been given choices before of where to move my seat.) Well, are any of those options going to be an additional cost?
Delta: I’m not sure. Let me check with my supervisor. You say you’d like seats as close to the front of possible?
Me: Yes, please.
-On hold.-
Delta: Hi. Thank you for holding. I spoke to my supervisor and she said that for your flight from NY to New Orleans you’re currently in row 13, so that’s fine and we can leave it, (Oh, it is? Then why did I call to ask to be moved further up to the front?!? Idiot.) but you’re in row 23 for your flight from New Orleans to NY so we can move you up to row 16 for that flight. (Uhm, no.)
Me: I’m on the website right now and looking a a map of the seating and I see that row 10 is open on the flight from NY to New Orleans, can you move me to those seats? I don’t see many available seats for the return flight on the map, is 16 the closest to the front?
Delta: Well, those are the bulkhead seats and those are usually reserved for passengers who board with service dogs or …couldn’t make out the 2nd part of her sentence. And yes, 16 is the closest on the return flight.
Me: Can you please check and see if I can have the bulkhead seats?
Delta: Ok. Let me check with the supervisor.
-On hold, again.-
Delta: Hi. I spoke to my supervisor and she said that that’s the best we can do b/c that row is for passengers who travel with service animals, that’s the row we put them in (I’ve seen passengers with service animals in other rows..and can’t you check if the passengers who are on the flight are traveling with service animals?…but,ok…) and for passengers who have full casts on their legs. (I believe that’s what she said..that’s the part I couldn’t make out before. If that is what she actually said, I thought to myself, what kind of ridiculousness is that?1?, followed by, oh, I’ll do you one even better!)
Me: I see. Well, I have prosthetics. So, can you please go back and check with your supervisor and see if that makes a difference? This is when I started to get irritated by the call…in case you guys couldn’t tell. =)
Delta: Ok. I will have to check with a different supervisor. (Ok. Check with whomever you need to, lady.) Prosthetics?..
Me: Yes.
Delta: You said prosthetics? One leg or both legs?
Me: With a slight ‘tude, I replied..”Both. Does it make a difference?!?”
Delta: No..Ok..I’ll check with my supervisor.
-Then at this point, she’s spelling prosthetics out loud, but incorrectly. I think she was trying to type in into her notes, or something..who knows?.. I help her out..P-R-O-S-T….etc.
-On hold, again.
And when she comes back on the phone…
Delta: Ok, you’re in seats 10 D and E.
Me: Ok, great. Thank you..and for the return flight?
Delta: 10 D and E.
Me: Oh, ok…same seats. Great. Thanks!
Delta: Thank you.
And then she hung up with the quickness…
I thought I was going to shoot myself mid-way through the call…holy crap!! All is well in the end and they moved my seats up, but, come on, Delta…get your s**t together…

Still job hunting…hate it. If anyone knows of anything or has any contacts that I can reach out to, please let me know. You can shoot me an email at teenakatz@gmail.com. Thanks in advance!
Currently going through fittings for new sockets for my prosthetics – pics when I’m done with fittings and they’re completed.

On the next episode of Teenavs7train…South Carolina pics/stories and pics of new sockets (maybe).
As always, thanks for following and reading!

Hello Teena vs. 7 Train World!…

…It’s been a long time…
I didn’t forget about the blog, but rather, went on a bit of a hiatus, I guess. Life sort of took over and I neglected the blog. (Sad face.) Hoping to get back on track with it, hopefully I still have followers that are still interested in my “wild and crazy” life!
Well, since my last post was from way back in October, I have a lot to catch you all up on. I’ll try and do a quick recap of events in order to catch up to present day…

November 2015
Beginning of November – We went to a Dead and Company (with John Mayer) concert. My first Dead concert and my first concert in an arena (MSG), without my wheelchair. Ben is the Dead fan, I was just there for the “experience”. I knew some of their music, but wasn’t too familiar. After about 2 hours at the show, I said, “Ok if we leave after the next song?” Cut to almost 10 minutes later..”Is this song ever going to end?!?” Great experience, but definitely a long night for me since I’m not a big fan of the music and since I had to “adjust’ my legs EVERY TIME people had to enter and exit the row!

Middle of November – We went up to Boston so that I could meet with the leg transplant team at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. I was in back-to-back meetings with doctors from 10AM to about 6P. After the last meeting, I asked the doctor in charge of the team if we could cut back on some of the appointments for the following day since I wasn’t expecting to be so overwhelmed by all the information I’d received. Done..the next day would only be a half day of appointments. After an entire day of schlepping from one doctor meeting to the next, we needed to unwind. We headed to dinner and then a movie. By the time we got back to the hotel, it was probably close to midnight. Just as I was getting out of the shower, I get a call from my brother, who was spending the night at our place that night. It’s about 1AM. My brother reaching out at that hour wasn’t alarming, since sometimes we’re still texting at 2/3AM. But it was odd that he was calling at that hour. Uhm..I think your apartment’s been broken into..WHAT?!?! We FaceTime so that he can show me the apartment…both windows in the bedroom are wide open, jewelry thrown all over the bed, dresser drawers all wide open. We’d been robbed. Now we’re pissed, confused, upset…What do we do? We decide it’s best to cancel the rest of the trip and drive back because if we stayed, all we’d be thinking about is the apartment. So, at 2 in the morning, we start packing up. At about 3 AM we got on the road and got back to NY at around 6AM. Once we got home, it’s post break-in drama…What’s missing, did we lock the windows, when did this happen, blah blah blah. Summary – Some of the items stolen: my engagement ring and wedding band, a $2K Michele Watch, other pieces of jewelry, about $2K in cash, Ben’s coin collection, etc. The detective(s) on our case were useless. A couple of days after the robbery, I went to drop off some paperwork at the precinct and the detective says to me, “I think we caught THE guy.” Oh yea?!? How do you know? “Well, he didn’t have any of your stuff on him and he lawyered up right away, but we’re pretty sure it’s the guy.” Right…but how do you know it’s THE guy that broke into our place? “Well, we’re not 100%, but it’s highly likely.” Ok, genius…so you caught A guy (which is great), but you didn’t catch THE guy. Your choice of words is a big deal here, buddy. All in all, there were no further updates on our case, or at least we weren’t informed if there were, and we filed a claim with our insurance. Our home and sense of security were violated, but we were OK.

December 2015
Hanukkah, Christmas…usual.
12/30/16 – We went to the archery range. We had stopped in a few months back to get information and to see if, logistically, I’d be able to do it. If needed, I could shoot from a seated position. So, we decided to go and give it a try that night. Ben shot with a recurve bow and I shot with a compound bow. Most beginners shoot with a recurve bow, I opted for the compound bow. The compound bow is slightly heavier than the recurve and requires a little more strength to use, but is easier for aiming. And since I have “Serena arms” (credit: WB), I figured I could handle the additional weight, if I’d have some help with the aiming..one less thing to worry about.

Training for the Hunger Games...

Training for the Hunger Games…


It was a 1 hour class. I did pretty well for my 1st time at archery…at least for someone with no legs, anyway. I shot 90% of the class standing up. I sat when I started to get a bit tired, but I found it more difficult to aim in the seated position since I had spent most of the class standing and had gotten used to shooting that way. My arms were sore at the end of the class and even more sore the following day, but only because I was using my muscles in a way that I had never used them before – which is hard to believe, since my arms are pretty much involved in everything I do! We have yet to go back, but definitely will!…If only to get pictures of each of us individually shooting and not just holding up the beaten up bullseye sheet. If there aren’t any pictures, then it didn’t actually happen, right?!?

January 2016
Obligatory Happy New Year! – albeit 2 months late.
1/1/16 – We flew down to Florida for some warm weather and to visit Ben’s parents. It was a busy week!..Mini-golf, swimming (both with legs and without!), movies, gun range, and more!

You can't see it...but there's a look of intense concentration on my face

You can’t see it…but there’s a look of intense concentration on my face



Poolside Lounging
Oh, hi there! It's just me and my legs sitting in the pool...

Oh, hi there! It’s just me and my legs sitting in the pool…


file:///Users/ThunderKatz/Desktop/Legless%20Swimming.html
The link above is to the video of me “swimming”. I’m not sure if the link will work, but the video was too large to load onto the site…It’s on Facebook, though.

Gun Range Targets Left - Ben, Right - Me

Gun Range Targets
Left – Ben, Right – Me


Skilled in bow and arrow and firearm. Don’t mess with me! I may not be able to run after you…hehe. In fact, I’ll give you a head start. Muhahaha.

1/7/16 – Our 2nd to last day in Florida. I get a phone call in the morning, from work. They know I’m on vacation…dun dun dun. “Your position is being absorbed in LA.” Long and short of it…I was laid off…while still on vacation. Happy New Year! At least I was in warm and sunny Florida. I should’ve saved my trip to the gun range..hah.

Rest of January – Present Day
The first couple of weeks of my unemployment were pretty busy…
-Cleared out my office and returned my equipment.
-Did some “spring cleaning” around the apartment.
-Got my haircut.
-Updated the scrapbook.
-Worked with a professional to revamp and update my resume.
-Took a new Linkedin profile pic and updated the profile with the new and improved resume.
-Fell and almost face planted.
That last item was a doozy. Luckily, I was at home and I was ok. The wall – maybe not so much. I was turning a corner in the apartment and my crutch and foot somehow got tangled up and the next thing I knew I gravity took hold. As always, when I’m falling, whether out of the wheelchair or when I’m in my prosthetics (thankfully this was only the 2nd time ever in the 1.5 years I’ve been in prosthetics), I try to contort myself so that I don’t face plant. Success!..in not face planting. I fell on my butt. Boom! Bruised and scraped my forearm from falling with my arm still in the crutch, but otherwise OK. Scraped a bit of paint off the wall, but I’m sure the wall is fine.

Currently…
..still unemployed and searching for a job. If anyone knows of anything, please reach out and I’ll gladly forward my resume. Searching for a job is so tedious. I’m bored and sick of constantly being at home and on the computer, but in order to search for a job, I have to be home and sit in front of the computer all day. Half the time, it feels like my resume is just going into a black hole. Of course, I know people mean well when they tell me I’ll find something and that things will work out because I know they genuinely mean it and it’s coming from a place of good…but it’s almost like, when, after the accident, people would say to me, “Everything happens for a reason or God only gives you what you can handle.” Words of encouragement and positive thoughts are always welcome and great, but please also couple it with help, if you’re able to provide it, of course! Please!..and Thank You! Any help is and always will be greatly appreciated. xoxo.

Preview of what’s to come…trip to Charleston, South Carolina booked for April. First trip with the girls in quite a few years. First trip with just the girls since the accident. First trip not with Ben since the accident.

The Struggle is Real…

Some stats…6 days since my stitches were taken out. 18 days since my surgery. 18 days that I’ve been wheelchair bound = 18 days that I haven’t been able to put on prosthetics and walk. At least another 7 days until I can put my prosthetics on. And 4 days since my allergic reaction (yes, another one)…
The last few days have been rough. I thought it would be smooth sailing once the drain was taken out and the stitches removed…mmm..not so much. 2 days after I had my stitches taken out, I noticed something was off. The incision areas were “leaking”…I was having an allergic reaction to something. Wonderful. After the stitches were removed, they put Steri-Strips on the areas Steri-Strips and used Mastisol (liquid adhesive) to secure them. Mastisol I got a reaction to the Mastisol. Here’s the irony in this. This was taken off a site on Mastisol, “Reduce the likelihood of dressing or device migration and minimize the risk of infection by creating a lasting occlusive dressing barrier by incorporating Mastisol, an adjunct liquid adhesive that is non-staining and has a lower risk of adverse reactions.”…and yet I got an adverse reaction. My incision areas developed a rash and my skin started to become macerated and “blistery”. I’ll spare everyone the pics the pics that I took…The blistering was what was causing the leaking and “sweating”. 4 days later the sweating/oozing has finally started to decrease (I think/hope), but it’s been a long 4 days. The first day I noticed it, I was concerned, but something similar had happened to me back when I had my surgery in March so I wasn’t too freaked out. Then the 2nd day when the sweating increased, I started to freak out a little. But I emailed the doc and his team and they said to just be on top of changing the gauze and try to keep it dry. So these last couple of days have just been watching, waiting, and hoping for the sweating to stop or at least decrease. And in hopes of not jinxing myself, it looks like it’s finally starting to ooze less (knock on wood). It’s been a very stressful few days and what makes this allergic reaction even more aggravating is that it is potentially prolonging me being able to put my prosthetics on. As it is, I haven’t been able to wear my shrinker or my liner. Both of which, are very helpful in reducing the swelling. But…I need to let the areas air out as much as possible, since they’re macerated.
Surgery in March – Discovery of infection? Check. Antibiotics? Check. Allergic reaction that added to my recovery time and was SUPER aggravating and frustrating? Check.
Surgery in September – Discovery of infection? Check. Antibiotics? Check. Allergic reaction that added to my recovery time and was SUPER aggravating and frustrating? Check.
Between March and now, I’ve discovered that my incision areas are super sensitive to any type of adhesive and that I’m allergic to Levoquin (an antibiotic), which coincidentally also brings about an annoying skin rash. Moving forward, no adhesive anything near incision areas post surgery! Instead of eating things and then potentially discovering I’m allergic to something, I like to reveal my allergies by having surgery. Doesn’t that sound like more fun?!?
Just another bump in the road. It could be worse…Both these statements are true and are applicable in this situation. But that doesn’t mean it makes it suck any less or that hearing it makes things any better. I know that the rest of my isn’t going to be a smooth road and that post accident, my entire life has been re-routed and that I’ll probably need to take detours for the remainder of my life…but enough with the constant construction already!…over it.
The struggle is real…

…Part II

I’ll finish up the story I left off with in the last post, re: the impromptu show-and-tell. We were at Rye Playland and I needed to take a break. We walked over to a bench so that I could sit down and rest. Ben took the opportunity to take a bathroom break. About 2 minutes after I sat down, a little girl (Chloe), maybe 6 or 7 years old, comes over to me and asks if she could ask me a question. I said, “Sure!” She then proceeds to ask what happened to me. I’ll retell our conversation below as if it were a script to a TV show or movie…
Me: I was in a train accident…
Chloe: You were ON the train??
Me: No…I was hit by the train…
Chloe: (With her eyes wide open) You were hit by the train?? Why didn’t you just run?!?
Me: I couldn’t. I fainted and then fell onto the tracks and then the train hit me…
Chloe: So, you lost your legs and now these help you (pointing to my prosthesis) walk?
Me: Yup!
Chloe: Do they hurt?
Me: Nope! But it takes a lot of work to use them so sometimes I need to sit down and take a rest, like I’m doing now.
At about now, her grandpa, 2 sisters, and cousin showed up! Her grandpa interjected and apologized for all her questions and curiosity and asked if it was ok. I said it was totally fine, better that she be curious than scared. Chloe introduces her sisters and cousin and then proceeds with her questions.
She then asked if she could touch my right prosthetic. Of course, I said yes. This was followed by the rest of the kids asking if they could touch as well. And once again, of course it was ok. I then told them that that leg has a computer in it. Their eyes lit up and they asked me where it was and if they could see and touch.
Chloe: But, you still have your feet, right?
Me: No…I don’t.
Chloe: So, what’s that then? (Pointing to the foot shell)
Me: It’s just a cover. You know how sometimes stores have the fake people, mannequins, with the clothes on in the window? My foot is kind of like that.
Chloe: Can we see?
Me: Sure!
I take my sneaker off and then my sock, so they can see the foot shell.
Chloe: Oh! It looks like my foot! Can we touch it?
Me: Sure!
Chloe and group: Ooh! It feels like a real foot!
Chloe then sits down on the grass, removes her sneaker and sock to expose her foot and says, “It looks like my foot!” To which her grandpa says, “Put that stinky foot away!” To which I say to Chloe and the kids, “That’s one thing I don’t have to worry about anymore…stinky feet!” They then ask me why the 2 prosthesis look different. I tell them it’s because one leg is shorter than the other and that the shorter one needs more help so that’s why it’s different. I pointed to show them how high the right one started. They asked if they could see. That one I said no to…didn’t think I needed to be flashing my undies to the people at Rye Playland and all. But they had a couple of more questions about that leg, so I told them that I would take the cover off so they could see. But I warned them that I had to do something with the leg so that I could take the cover off, and told them don’t be scared. They all went, “We won’t!”. So, I turned my knee/leg “upside down”…they were all wide-eyed, but not scared. Chloe sat back down on the grass and said, “Wait, I think I can do that too!”..and proceeded to try. *Adorable* They looked, touched, and then went over to the left prosthesis. I explained that the left one had a hidden button that I push so that I can take it off. They asked if I could take it off so they could see. I warned them again not to be scared…since there’s a pin/screw at the end of my liner. I took off the left prosthesis and then then put it back on. Chloe then asked if she could try to push the button and take the prosthesis off. This girl…love her. I said yes and then she “unclicked” my left prosthesis and took it off! Then she asked if she could hold it. So there she was…holding my left prosthesis by the shoe in her hands. Then the rest of the kids asked if it was heavy and if they could try holding it. And so…it got passed around. I mean….could they be any cuter?!? Then their grandma showed up and then the show-and-tell began to conclude. It was so nice to answer all their questions and show them my prosthesis. It was my pleasure to teach them about my prosthesis. I hope I was a good teacher/presenter for them and that they walked away asking more questions! I certainly didn’t start that day expecting to take off my prosthesis and having it passed around at Rye Playland…And I’m sure they didn’t think they’d be passing a prosthesis around!
Rye Playland Show and Tell_Sept 2015

No smooth segue into my next topic…I had my 14th surgery to date on Wednesday, 9/16/15. 14th surgery and 4th hospital, in less than 2 years. Fun times.
So, lets start by saying I was duped. Well, sort of, but not really. Hah. When I first scheduled this surgery and spoke to the doctor about what would be done, we had talked about anesthesia and he told me that he wouldn’t need to put me completely out. I took this to mean something along the lines of…I’d be awake, maybe not coherent, but awake, and numb in my leg and there would be a “curtain” up so I couldn’t see what was happening. Wrong. Completely out means you’re under full anesthesia and they intubate you with a breathing tube because you’re not breathing on your own. So, I wasn’t completely out because I was under full anesthesia but still breathing on my own. I guess that’s better…but I was completely unaware of the fact that in all the 13 prior surgeries, I was completely out.
With that being said, this surgery took about 2 hours. The tentative “plan” was that surgery would take 1.5-2 hours and then I’d be in recovery for 2-3 hours, and then I’d go home. Wrong again. I woke up in the recovery room and I was a little groggy..ok…to be expected. As I start to come to a little more, the nurse asks if I’m in any pain. I am. We go through the usual routine..1-10, what number is your pain? 5-6. She gave me some pain medication and then told me about the JP drain I had in my leg. Ugh…what?!?.
[A Jackson-Pratt Drain (also called a JP Drain) is a closed-suction medical device that is commonly used as a post-operative drain for collecting bodily fluids from surgical sites. The device consists of an internal drain connected to a grenade-shaped bulb via plastic tubing. The flexible bulb has a plug that can be opened to pour off collected fluid. Each time fluid is removed, the patient, caregiver or healthcare provider squeezes the air out of the bulb and replaces the plug before releasing the bulb. The resulting vacuum creates suction in the drainage tubing, which gradually draws fluid from the surgical site into the bulb. The bulb may be repeatedly opened to remove the collected fluid and squeezed again to restore suction. It is best to empty drains before they are more than half full to avoid the discomfort of the weight of the drain pulling on the internal tubing]
Luckily, I knew what it was because I had a JP drain in my left leg back when I was in Bellevue, but I wasn’t expecting to have one inserted into me after this surgery. So, knew what it was but caught off guard that I had one in me. Then Ben came in and told me the doc said that surgery went well. He said the doc said they found a 3-4 inch suture in one of the spots they operated on and removed it. Of course they did.
At this point the pain meds had kicked in and I was feeling a little better…but not for long. After coming out of surgery/anesthesia, I was REALLY thirsty and REALLY hungry, but you’re only allowed to start off with ice chips, then move to water, then jello..and only when they deem it ok, you’re allowed to start having real food. I never got to the real food…I started with the ice chips and quickly moved to drinking water. Then, my head started to hurt. It wasn’t bad at first. The nurse gave me some Tylenol. Then, I felt nauseous and started to get the thick spit in my mouth. Never a good thing. I grabbed the vomit tray and 5 seconds later…PUKE…water puke…since I hadn’t eaten anything since midnight the night before (it was about 3P now) and all I had post surgery was water. Ok, puking was not fun, but I did feel a little better afterwards. Cut to 10 minutes later…the headache was back and now it had been upgraded to full migraine status. The next few hours were torture. I just wanted to crawl into a cave. The migraine escalated to the worst migraine I ever had. For those of you that have never experienced a migraine, hope that you won’t ever experience one. This was like the worst hangover…times 10!!! The slightest sound, the dimmest light…it all was too much. I would just try and fall asleep, but even that was difficult. So for the next few hours I was just in and out. At around 6ish, I puked, again. After this 2nd puke, the nurse alerted the plastic surgery team that was on call. When the 2 docs came to see me, they asked me a few questions and told me that nausea and vomiting were normal reactions from anesthesia, but not the way I was experiencing it. “Normally,” people are nauseous for a little while and then puke. I would get nauseous right before I puked. They asked me if I normally have migraines. I don’t have them on a “regular” basis, but I do get them. So, it was decided that I wasn’t having a reaction from the anesthesia, but more likely that I just happened to get the worst migraine ever, at the worse possible time. They injected another dose of anti-nausea medicine into my IV, along with some Pepcid to coat my stomach. I dozed off for about an hour after that and when I woke up I finally started to feel a little bit of relief. By the time I felt good enough to leave and was cleared to go, it was about 10P. By the time we got into the car it was a little after 11P and by the time we arrived at home, it was midnight. I was so exhausted. I was finally able to eat something when we got home. It had been over 24 hours since the last time I had eaten anything. I was fasting for Yom Kippur a week early. Hah! I was starving and barely had enough energy to eat, but forced myself to get some toast down…then off to bed.
Cut to Saturday…I had just taken my shower and was redressing my wounds. It was the first day I was allowed to take a full shower. I had to wait at least 48 hours before I could changes the dressings or take a full shower. As I was changing my dressings, I get a call from the doc’s PA. She tells me that when they took a culture from one of my “pockets’ during surgery and took it to the lab, it tested gram positive for a staphaureas infection. Of course. She says that it’s ok since I wasn’t showing any symptoms, which I wasn’t and hadn’t. She then proceeds to tell me that that’s probably why my wounds weren’t fully closing and had been oozing all this time. No shit, Sherlock, you think? She tells me they’re going to call in a prescription for antibiotics at the local pharmacy and tell me to take all the pills. Easy enough. Luckily, these antibiotics didn’t give me a horrible rash, like the last time.
I haven’t been able to put my prosthetics on since the surgery, so I’ve been wheelchair bound for the last 10 days. Not fun. But I wasn’t really doing anything the first week, anyway. The first couple of days I just stayed home. The day I showered, we went out for a drive so I could get out of the house and get some fresh air. Although I was seated in the wheelchair, having the drain attached to me made it very inconvenient to move around. I had to constantly check that the tube wasn’t getting caught on anything or that the bulb wouldn’t fall out of my pants. Good times. I’m still wheelchair bound, but I was able to get the drain taken out this past Thursday! And stitches come out next week. It will probably be at least another week after the stitches come out until I can put the prosthetics back on. My back has been killing me from all the sitting. I can’t win. I have severe back pain All. The. Time. My back hurts from using the prosthetics and it hurts when I’m stuck in the wheelchair. Sigh…
Til next time. Thanks for reading!