samedi 27 septembre 2008
On Wednesday night I took my pre-op shower with the Betadine solution. Rather like pouring iodine on your body. Not sure if I did a good job.
The next morning I couldn't eat or drink and had to take another Betadine shower. Alain drove me to the clinic in Vitrolles around 9:30. We checked in, which was quite easy since I had done a pre-check in the week before when I went for my anesthesiology appointment. We went upstairs and I got settled into my shared room. Changed into the gown and waited. Around 11 they took me down in my bed into the operating area. I was brought into one operating room (salmon colored). Put on a cap and booties, then they hooked me up to the heart-rate monitor, put the iv tube in, and waited. Then was told that I was being kicked out of there because of an emergency c-section and it was the only room where they could do it. Hey, it was her choice to have a baby in the first place, she's waited nine months, she can't wait another 30 minutes? Grumble. So they wheeled me back out and placed me in the post-op room where everyone still drugged up from surgery goes to wake up.

About 30 minutes later they brought me into another room (green). Got hooked up again. I said that I would prefer not to be put completely under, so the anesthesiologist gave me a shot of something (he joked and said it was like Jack Daniels whisky. Oh those funny anesthesiologists. What if I hate whisky?!) I guess it did the trick because though I was awake I was rather unaware until about the middle of the surgery when I *woke up* and found myself under a sheet on my side with the doctor working on my back. The whole thing lasted about 30 minutes, then I was wheeled into the post-op room.

Around 1:30 I was taken back up to my room. Alain was still waiting for me. He left aruond 2, and I was stuck with my room-mate and her parents who would NOT SHUT UP. Hey you over there, I am trying to concentrate on not throwing up, can you please shut your traps?
At around 3 they brought in my *food* which was a bottle of water, a piece of ham, a roll, a container of applesauce, and some cheese. I took a sip of water and then ran to the bathroom to throw up.

As I was throwing up someone kept knocking on the door. Can't you hear that I am busy in here? Can you please just let me throw up in peace? That is really all I ask when throwing up- not having to yell "Occupé!" in between hurls and not worrying about someone coming in and seeing my bare rear in the hospital gown while I am throwing up into the toilet. I mean honestly. I thought maybe it was my room-mate needing to use the bathroom (um, can you please wait a few minutes?!) but I guess it was the nurse asking whether I was ok. No I'm not ok, can't you hear that I am not ok?

Came out and the nurse gave me a pill which was supposed to help with the nausea. I am wary of these "this is supposed to help with that" pills because after an operation a few years ago a nurse gave me something to help with the pain. Which gave me terrible nausea so much so that I would have rather have had the pain.

Anyway, my room-mate and her parents finally checked out (perhaps because of the projectile vomiting? I don't know) and I could finally rest. I had thought that my recovery period would consist of reading my book and eating gummy bears, not concnetrating on not throwing up and having a raging headache. I was able to sleep for about an hour, then woke up at 4:30. The nurse told me I had to eat something before I could check out, so I managed to force down the bread and applesauce. Wasn't touching dairy or the ham. I got dressed and went down to meet my father-in-law who came to pick me up and drive me home.
Was in too much pain to go to work the next day. I have to go in next Wednesday for a check up, which is also the day of my laser eye surgery. Gulp. I am more worried about that then I was about this operation.

All in all, the care was very good even if I did get booted from the operation room. Would have liked a bit more instruction in what to do after the surgery though, as far as caring for my stiches. The doctor came in and sorta explained it to me but I was feeling rather icky at the time, and I don't know about you but I like complicated medical things in French to be written down.
Was informed that I cannot drink alcohol or smoke for 24 hours. Are you kidding? I can barely look at a glass of water and you think I am going to be sitting down to a good red bordeaux?

The doctors and nurses were nice and seemed to get a kick out of my being American.
Whatever keeps you from not killing me doctor is fine by me.
jeudi 25 septembre 2008
I sent in my absentee voter registration a few months ago and have been waiting to receive the ballot in the mail. So I was surprised when I received an email from the County Clerk with the ballot and instructions to be printed out. It was pretty simple- President/Vice-President, Representative, and Senator.Then had to sign and date the "security envelope" and have an adult witness and sign the security envelope so I made Alain sign it. I suppose he counts.

Put my ballot in the security envelope, taped it up, and sent it in.
Woohoo! I have done my civic duty.
For the 2004 election I stopped at the voting place early in the morning before going to work. I came out to my car and cried.
I felt so stupid. It was just the first time that I had ever voted in person and I was just overwhelmed for some reason. All the previous elections I had voted by absentee ballot for Colorado while I was away at college. Also, the other elections were not Presidential elections.
I have heard that they don't even bother counting the absentee ballots unless the margin of difference between the two candidates is less than the number of absentee ballots received; ie. if Candidate A is leading Candidate B by 500 votes and there are 501 absentee ballots, then they count the absentee ballots, but if there are only 499 absentee ballots, then they don't even bother.
Don't know if that is true, and I suppose it rather makes sense, but-
Nice to know that every vote counts and is counted!
mercredi 24 septembre 2008
About a year ago, when we got ready to re-do our toilet room, I bought some blue tiles from Leroi Merlin to tile behind the toilet seat.

"The exact color we needed... What a deal!"

So the two huge buckets of paint have been sitting in the smallest bedroom for about a year now, waiting to be used. Alain was afraid that they would go bad. I doubted it.

After the previous week's hilarities of trying to paint the wall white when it doesn't want to be painted white, I started painting the blue portion this weekend. We put a piece of crown molding (chair rail?) around to separate the blue and white sections. We were originally going to paint the entire wall blue, but then came across the same problem as the other rooms- how to separate between the wall and the ceiling when it is rounded? We could have put crown molding along the top, but it would have looked funny in such a small room in our opinion.

Anyway, I painted the first layer- not the same color as the tiles.

Well, maybe the second layer will be darker.

Nope, still different.

And I don't think it is because the paint went bad.

When I bought the paint, there was no computer-matching, or at least, not that they offered. I thought that a different color would be better, but the paint "expert" said no, that this color would be the same once applied.

I am quickly learning never to trust the people who work in home improvement stores. Most of the time, they know as much as you do about painting/tiling/electrical work, etc.

So everyone, here are the results.

Please vote for one of the following options:

A) Leave as is and move on to one of the 177 other things that need to be done in the apartment.
B) Get a computer-matched paint and repaint just the toilet room.
C) Get a computer-matched paint and get rid of somehow the other two buckets of unused paint (about 100€ worth)
D) paint the bottom half white and leave the chair rail as is or paint other color
E) other (please explain).

The difference in color isn't a huge deal, but we did choose that blue to match with the tiles.
I like the blue paint, but would like it better if it matched.
Re-painting the toilet room isn't a big deal- small surface, easy to paint. However, if we are going to change all the blue, it should be done before we paint our bedroom, the smallest bedroom, and the hallway.

mardi 23 septembre 2008
I have had a bump on my back for at least 4 years now. It doesn't bother me, isn't painful, and hasn't changed in size, but I have decided to get it removed. I asked my general doctor about it, hoping that he could do it. Nope. He referred me to another doctor.
I felt quite vain going to a plastic surgeon. Again, I hoped it was just something he could quickly remove in his office. Nope. He has me scheduled for surgery on Thursday. I had to go to an anesthesiologist.
I was hoping they could just do a local anesthetic, so that I wouldn't have to be put under (which is really the part that scares me the most about surgeries- it seems like that is more dangerous than the actual surgery). I was hoping that it could be quickly done and that I could go back to work in the afternoon. Nope, have to stay in the clinic for the whole afternoon after the surgery. I guess I am just used to the US where it is in and out, less time for the insurance the better. When I had my appendix removed, I left the same evening- less than 24 hours after I entered. (Though to be fair, I wanted to go home- I didn't want to stay longer in the hospital.)
I asked how much this would cost- Free.
Well, I guess there are some good things about French health care.
lundi 22 septembre 2008
I have been known to kill plants in my time.
But this beats all.
One week from healthy green Basil plant with leaves to an un-recoverable brown stick.
There goes my "101 things" resolution of:

# 68 get some herbal plants and not kill them

Guess I will have to try again. Hear that? It is a whole bunch of plants screaming "Don't pick me!! Don't pick me!!" as I walk by.
Guess if the plant actually had instructions on how to take care of it rather than a recipe for pesto on the side, that would help. Though who am I kidding? I would still forget. Sigh.

dimanche 21 septembre 2008
We spent several weekends putting up the crown molding - THAT was certainly a task that I thought would be easier than it was. I thought, how hard can it be? Cut the pieces so that they form 90° angles, glue to wall, voila!

Except, I forgot- our walls are not straight! which left us with huge gaps in the corners. Alain put some of a cementy-type glue, let it dry, then had the task of sanding them in order to shape them into the shape of the actual crown molding.

It wasn't easy getting those suckers to stay glued to the walls either. We had glue everywhere, on the walls that Alain had spent weeks re-doing and sanding to make them smooth.
This afternoon we finally were able to start painting the ceiling and the crown molding. I bought some paint on Friday- plain white "large areas" paint.

Except that it was like water. The darn paint would not stay on the rollers or paintbrushes from the time it took between bucket and ceiling. Argh. The floor and other stuff in the bedroom was covered with cardboard boxes and plastic sheets, otherwise we would have had a heck of a time cleaning up the paint off of EVERYTHING.

We managed to finally get the ceiling covered, now have to do another layer. Alain's parents lent us an air-brush paint kit. I think we will try it. The paint is so watery, it shouldn't have any trouble passing through the nozzle.

Sigh. Nothing is easy.
lundi 15 septembre 2008
What is claimed is:

1) A method for painting a bathroom (a first surface) comprising the steps of:
- selecting at least one liquid material of a specified color (paint) in a container,
- purchasing said at least one paint as well as one or more paint application utensils from the group consisting of: paintbrush, roller, spraygun,
- applying the paint to at least one paint application utensil,
- utilizing the paint application utensil in order to transfer paint from container to the first surface, and
- repeating at least some of the above steps until the first surface is entirely covered with the paint.

2) A method according to claim 1, further comprising the step of getting a second surface, including but not limited to clothes, hair, skin (collectively known as "the painter"), or floor covered in said paint.

3) A method according to one of claims 1 or 2, including the step of yelling "Damn it, why doesn't this said paint stick to the first surface?!".

4) A method according to one of claims 1 to 3, wherein a further step includes being mad that said paint, which states on the container that only one layer of said paint is required on the first surface, actually requires at least two layers.

5) A method according to one of claims 2 to 4, comprising the steps of:
- trying to remove said paint from said painter (clothes, hair, and skin), and
- realizing that said paint is not water soluble as stated on said container.

6) A method according to one of claims 2 to 5, including the step of the painter going to work the next day covered in said paint.

7) A method according to one of claims 1 to 6, comprising the step of purchasing a further container of said paint due to the fact that said paint, though claiming to cover 20 m2 as stated on said container, is not sufficient to cover the first surface of 5 m2, which may or may not be related to claim 2 (getting said paint on a secondary surface), claim 3 (yellng "Damn it, why doesn't this said paint stick to the first surface?!"), or claim 4 (being mad that said paint actually requires at least two layers).

8) A method according to claims 1 to 7, comprising the step of repeating steps claimed in claims 1 to 7 until such a time as the first surface is actually covered by said paint.

Can you tell that I am training to become a patent lawyer?
Can you tell what I spent Sunday afternoon doing?

dimanche 7 septembre 2008
comfort food. American comfort food. American fall comfort food.

This time of the year, my thoughts turn to:

Banana bread
gingerbread cookies
pumpkin pie
apple pie
hot apple cider
halloween candy

Are you getting the general idea? It is all I can think about. Something about the weather, planning on going to Colorado for Christmas, etc etc.

I might even try my hand at making some of the above, if I can ever find all of the ingredients.
Questions for those living in France:
Is shortening Fruit d'or for example?
can brown sugar be found? (and not just sugar that is brown?)
Does pâte sablée really taste like pie crust to you (because to me it tastes different).

Fall is always the hardest time for me as far as homesickness is concerned. I never was a big Fall-lover back in the US. Yes, the leaves are pretty. Yes it is nice to have Halloween and Thanksgiving, blah blah blah.
I would have always have said that I was a Spring Gal.
But now I miss stuff like hot apple cider and knowing that football games are on (even if I don't give a flying patoie who is playing or why or when) and Halloween decorations, etc.
At least we are planning on going home for Christmas. (once I get over the price-shock and actually grit my teeth and order the tickets. Wow prices have gone up in 2 years!)

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