Month: March 2013

Flat-Out Friday: Just Plain Tired

A joyous Easter weekend to all my readers! I hope each of you have time to spend with your families this long weekend, as our loved ones are the most important things in our lives. This Friday I’d like to relay some events of the last few days, and attempt to explain why I get tired so very easily, even from the simpliest of things.

Our houseguest left on Tuesday, and so Wednesday was a day of relaxation for Matt and I. I started playing my new video game, “Ni No Kuni” (which is absolutely fantastic), and I had a physiotherapy appointment in the afternoon. Simple enough. After physio, I decided to walk down the block to the Rexall and pick up a few things. Halfway there, I slipped on a patch of black ice on the sidewalk and fell. I went down on my left hand and knee. Luckily, I was wearing a jacket and jeans, and they helped cushion the fall, but I was still jarred. I scraped my knee all up and was muddy from there to my ankle.

By the time I went to the Rexall and came home (a round trip of 2 blocks, folks), I was exhausted. Now, I don’t mean just plain tired. I mean exhausted. I was on the verge of tears. Every one of my bones hurt. And all from a seemingly simple fall.

My psychiatrist explained it like this: when these things happen, people are hardwired to produce a small amount of adrenaline to get them through the small shock; then, when the adrenaline wears off, we experience a small low, followed by our body’s chemicals returning to normal. In my case, the smallest of incidents sets off my adrenaline which rockets up far past the normal range. It spikes for longer than it should, and then crashes down into an extreme low which takes me (what seems like) ages to crawl back out of. Hence, I get exhausted – all the chemicals in my body have gone haywire, and it takes all my strength just to function while they sort themselves out.

Here’s me with my feet up at our wedding, a place I stayed most of the night.

Tattoos trigger the same response. Getting inked is actually putting your body in trauma, which triggers the same response as the slip-and-fall. The trauma just lasts longer, so therefore the recovery time is equally extended. Any kind of prolonged travel has the same result; similarly, so does prolonged standing, prolonged sitting, and prolonged walking. For most people, sitting is restful. For me, it’s just somewhere else to be uncomfortable. In fact, I cannot think of the last time I was actually comfortable – I wake up from a dead sleep in pain some nights. When I head to the West Edmonton Mall for a walk, the intent is to make my body as tired as possible while getting low-impact exercise. When I’m at a social function and we leave earlier than most people, it’s because the standing/sitting/whatever has made me too tired to continue on.

This weekend, I plan on sleeping. A lot. We do have some plans for Easter Monday, but we are taking it easy and gathering strength for next week when Matt is back to Wainwright and I am off to Ontario for a visit with my family.

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Flower Photo Mania!

Hello everyone! As this week’s Wednesday Whimsy, I thought I’d share with you some of the photos I took at the Muttart Conservatory. I have used Adobe Lightroom to enhance them, and I think they have turned out fantastic. I hope you all enjoy them!

 ** Please note that this is an image heavy post, so it may be slower to load than normal.
 

Week in Review: Friendship is Pretty

Earlier this week, I mentioned that my cousin Nicole was coming to visit. This weekend, I kept her busy. We visited the West Edmonton Mall because if you’re from Ontario, when you mention that you’ve been to Edmonton it’s the first thing everyone always asks you. We also attended the Edmonton Pop Culture Fair, and walked through the Muttart Conservatory.

Twilight, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and the herd of random others

The Pop Culture fair was amazing. If you’re ever in the area for the bi-annual event, I highly recommend attending. The admission fee is $7, but there were comics, collectables, and original artworks for sale. There were also free posters but by the time we found the table, the Star Trek: Into Darkness ones were all gone. And there were so many ponies!!! There were a lot of other cool things too, but really, we all know I was there for the ponies. While Nicole was here, I managed to get her hooked hard on MLP:FIM, and now she’s got a My Little Pony collection started thanks to the amazing stuff at the Fair – she’s already got nine. Of course, my collection is swelling: 21 ponies and counting! I also purchased 3 MLP t-shirts over the course of the weekend so I can share my obsession with the world.

Tulips in bloom in the Feature pavillion

The Muttart Conservatory visit was the complete opposite of the Fair. While the Fair was loud, crowded, and a little nervous-making, the Conservatory was quiet, calming, and completely relaxing. Nicole and I took our time and wandered through the displays, taking many many pictures as we went. We enjoyed the smells and sights in each of the four pavillions. The feature pyramid was in full bloom and full of tulips and topiaries. It was so fragrant that we could smell the flowers before we had even rounded the corner or opened the door. It was spring-like and the colours were so refreshing to see in this city where the fallout from the snowpocalypse still covers everything.

The Arid pavillion held a Agave Americana which is only flowering for a few months, and it was definitely something to see the 30ft tall shoot reaching up through the middle of the pyramid to produce its yellow blooms. The Temperate pavillion was gorgeous and smelled of camellias and rosemary. The water feature held some koi, and the soothing sound of the falling water made it seem like we were walking through a Japanese garden. It was the pyramid I enjoyed the most. The Tropical pavillion was hot and sticky, but worth going in just to see the orchids on display. There was a water feature in this one as well, and the tropical flowers were blooming in the sun. The peach tree had just finished flowering and had produced tiny buds that will soon become fruit, and it smelled delightful. I am going to take my mother and grandmother back when they visit in June, and I’m hoping that the peaches even more wonderful to see and smell.

Nicole snapping away at the blooms

I’m happy that the visit went so well, and I’m really pleased to have been able to share my city with a person I care about. I’m sad to see her go, but today’s walk through the Muttart was something I will remember for a long time. Also, I took so many pictures that the battery on my camera ran out, and once Nicole leaves tomorrow, I’m going to sit down with them in Photoshop and start prettifying my shots. For a point-and-shoot, my little camera took some fantastic photos, and I can’t wait to share all the wonderful colours with you.

Flat-Out Friday: Honouring the Fallen

The 95th anniversary of the Battle of Moreuil Wood was celebrated yesterday by the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) regiment. My cousin Nicole and I had the privilege to watch the parade in the morning and see the annual regimental awards being given out.

Can you see Matt? He is standing in formation as the second-in-command of A Squadron.

We then got the opportunity to mingle with the soldiers, and yesterday evening Matt and I decked ourselves out for the Battle of Moreuil Wood mixed dining-in, a chance for spouses to mingle with their husbands’ peers and their partners in a fancy-schmancy atmosphere.

A Sqn on parade from a distance

When researching what on earth I should be wearing or how I should be acting, I quizzed Matt on all the various protocols at Mess dinners so that I would be prepared for how the evening would progress. The first thing he made sure to mention was that, although it was a mixed dining-in, it was intended to be an occasion to memorialize the fallen from the Battle of Moreuil Wood and every battle the Strathcona’s have been engaged in since. This meant dressing appropriately and respectfully: tea- or floor-length dresses, appropriate accessories, and a sense of feminine respectability. I got my mum to ship the only formal dress I own out to Edmonton, found some formal yet flat shoes, and broke out the fancy jewellry usually reserved for weddings. When I was ready, I felt elegant and pretty, which I felt was perfect since I would be standing next to Matt all evening and his Mess kit is… rather flashy.

I did go with my hair up in the end.

When we arrived at the event (after getting lost twice and driving through the snowpocalypse that had been plaguing our city all day – more on that in a later post), I saw friends and spouses of more senior officers dressed very beautifully and respectfully. And then I saw some of the dates the younger soldiers brought.

Is it just me, or am I old-fashioned when I say that any dress above the knee is not considered formal wear? Also, any dress that is tight enough to show your underwear lines (should you choose to wear any at all)? Some of the outfits on the ladies last night were bordering on offensive. There was one dress that the fabric used would only have been about as large as the napkin I used for dinner. There was a sundress that, when the wearer lifted her arms, just barely covered her unmentionables. And these ladies thought this was perfectly okay to wear to a dinner where they would be hobnobbing with retired officers, the Commanding Officer of the Regiment, and the generous civilians who provide financial contributions. I was shocked.

But I think the absolute worst indiscretion was that these ladies felt this was appropriate attire to wear to a memorial event. An event to commemorate the fallen soldiers from Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), past, present, and future. It was an opportunity to remember your friends-at-arms and the support they receive from their spouses so they can continue to exemplify the regimental motto, “Perseverance”. How much (or how little) respect can these women have for their partners and the sacrifice they make if they do not have enough self-respect to dress appropriately?

I could go on, but instead of focussing on the dishonour, I will focus on the honour that my husband brought to the regiment when he gave his speech in homage to Fallen Comrades. We had a lovely meal, was each complimented by the CO (Matt for his speech and I for my baking), danced a slow song or two, and by the time we left, the snow had stopped falling. Today I am tired, but the sun is shining and we have company. And though I was left with a distaste for some people’s taste last night, overall I consider it a success.

On the Road Again

Wanna know what I did this morning? Do ya? Do ya? Huh? HUH?

I drove from home to the base to the airport to home. That’s a round trip of 120km. Follow the purple line!

“A” is also where “D” is located, which is home.

It is the furthest I’ve driven in forever! And all in one shot. It makes me proud to see it outlined on a map like this. Part of the drive was also on the highway we refer to as “The Highway of Death”, or Highway 2, because it is a ridiculously ill-equiped major road for the amount of traffic and the weather that it gets. There was a lot of slowing down for looky-loos on the way to the airport (“C” on the map) because people were diving off the road in the blowing snow, but on the way home there were no accidents and no looky-loos. Stopped at IKEA and Wal-Mart after swinging through Arrivals to pick up Nicole, and stocked up on food for the coming week (there were no ponies, I checked). Then we came home through the city. I pointed out the tattoo parlour, which looks like it might be a go, and some other highlights of the downtown Edmonton area.

I told you all this would be a short post, and it is. We are just waiting on Matt to call so we can swing up and get him from the base (“B” on map above). There will probably lunch to be had and then a quiet night in, as it’s supposed to snow/freezing rain all evening.

On Friday, I promise pictures of the Moreuil Wood parade taking place tomorrow and of Matt and I dressed to the nines heading out to the mixed Mess dinner. I cannot wait to share all this with all of you!

Also: YAY ME!

Week in Review: Heroine Addict

It’s time again for another Week in Review! (If you’re old enough to remember the sketch on The Muppet Show, try saying “Week in Review” like “Pigs in Space”. It’s totally fun.)

First, I’d like to thank everyone for their comments and expressions of love following Friday’s Flat-Out post. As hard as it was to write (and I imagine to read), I needed to do it. This blog is all about me working through my recovery, and for me to do that successfully, the topic was one that eventually needed to be brought up. I feel stronger because of it. Thank you all for choosing to continue on this journey with me.

Second, I’m thrilled to announce that in two days, I will have a visitor! My cousin Nicole is coming from Ontario out to see me. This will be her first time anywhere west of Barrie, Ontario, and will be my first family member aside from my mum to visit me here. She’s coming at a very busy time – the annual Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) celebration of awesomeness is this week, followed by Matt’s spring break. She will get to see the parade associated with the Battle of Moreuil Wood festivities, and I’m trying to get her hooked up with a tour through the regimental stables. The Edmonton Pop Culture Fair is on next weekend, and we’ll be taking her to that. And besides the standard “you gotta see West Edmonton Mall so you can say you saw it” trip, I was also thinking that she’d enjoy the Muttart Conservatory. Given all the snow we just got, a trip to the Devonian Gardens is not feasible, but do any of my friends currently in or familiar with Edmonton have any other suggestions? Matt will be working only 1 day while she’s here, so we will have plenty of time to experience the good stuff. Of course, I could always take her for her first tattoo…

For those wondering, Matt did come home from Wainwright last Thursday. That morning I woke to a snowfall warning advisory and a jubilant text from my husband saying he was coming home at last. At least 8 inches had fallen by the time I went to get him from the base, and I totally made it there in one piece with no problem, bearing two coffees from Timmies. I was pretty proud of myself since it was the first time I’d driven in snow since… well, March 2011. Two years. That’s almost forever. The snow continued through the weekend, and the city finally decided to do some road clearing last night around midnight (I heard the trucks). But we did manage to get out on Saturday and run some errands. Matt got new glasses, we paid for some new paintball gear for him, and we picked up the newest member of our family, Moriarty the betta fish. (I may have also gotten ponies. Nothing like feeding the addiction.) With Matt home again, Sunday was a familiar routine of brunch, video games, naps, and Top Gear over dinner. I have been sleeping much more steadily since he’s been here, and both of us feel like we’re almost not tired anymore.

Looking forward, Wednesday’s post will be short and sweet (since Nicole arrives that day), but Friday I’ll be back with pictures of Matt and I dressed in our best and the highlights of Moreuil Wood. Until next time!

Flat-Out Friday: The Great Baby Debate

Fair warning: today’s post is gonna be emotional.

Since it is spring soon (it’s somewhere under all that snow), and spring is that magical time of year when rabbits, deer, lambs, chickens, and people have babies, I figured that this was a pretty good time to bring up that inevitable question all old people ask you after you tell them you’re newlyweds: “Are you planning a family yet?” To which my response is always a polite, “No, not yet”. This usually illicts advice I don’t want, recommendations I don’t need, and the just plain hurtful, “Well, you’re not getting any younger”.

Duh. Thanks for that.

But how do you say to the nice lady at the bus stop that you’re not even sure you can take care of a baby since some days it’s hard to take care of yourself? How do you calmly bring up the fact that, if you did get pregnant, you would be in constant agony and potentially endangering your own life as well as your child’s by attempting to bring them into the world? Truthfully, this is exactly how I feel every single time someone asks, but I never get to tell anyone because my immediate bodily response is to cry. It doesn’t matter if it’s the harmless elderly or my own doctor. Every time someone asks me about children, I burst into tears. I can’t even talk to Matt about names we like without getting choked up.

And this is why.

Christmas 2011: We are at my parent’s house, celebrating the fact that I am alive and spending Christmas with my family. I have been feeling weirdly off, surprise throwing up, and bloated. We check, and yes, I’m pregnant. Matt makes me pee on a stick three times before he’s satisfied. We spend the rest of our vacation basking in the joy that this unexpected gift is bringing us. After so much pain and misery, there will be a miracle. Cut to…

Mid-January 2012: I have a miscarriage. Truthfully, my body was in no shape to carry a child to term at that point and we should have recognized that. But we were foolishly caught up in the moment. Matt and I share many, many tears. We avoid shopping at stores because we had looked there previously for baby things. The situation becomes heartwrenchingly ironic as The Ex That Shall Not Be Named successfully delivers her fifth healthy child around the same time. Cut to…

Mid-February 2013: I am sitting uncomfortably naked in my doctor’s office, explaining to her why her “You’re not getting any younger” comment is far from my biggest concern. “Let’s start with, do I even want to try again?” I say to her. “How about, I can’t bear the thought of losing another miracle. Or how about all the high-powered anti-anxiety drugs I have currently floating around in my bloodstream? Say I don’t lose it and it grows healthy and strong, and one day kicks me exactly where my broken vertebrae are, because that’s exactly where it would kick me. Then what: I am paralysed, or I miscarry the healthy baby. What about the nerve damage to my lower back, pelvis and right leg? Would the baby’s weight cause me to lose even more sensation? And if that doesn’t happen, and it miraculously grows to term, what then? I can’t deliver it naturally – my pelvis will literally shatter. So I have a C-section. Now I have even more damage done to an already extremely fragile part of my body. Would I make it through the post-partum without trying to kill myself? How about any of these things?”

No, I’m not getting any younger, and the more I age, the greater the increased risk becomes. I fully realize this. But so many people think I’ve just conveniently forgotten about babymaking because I’m too busy dealing with everything else when in fact the opposite is true.

The act of babymaking was never, ever lost in the struggle to recover from this. It has been forefront in my mind through everything. There will never be enough money in the world to heal the pain this accident has caused me, nor ever enough to satisfy the void that it has placed in my body where there should be vibrancy and life. This company will be paying through the nose over the injury and injustice done to me and my family, and part of that will be taking into account my now-diminished ability to bear children. But what I really wish money was able to do? Go back in time and give me my life back so that I can give life to someone else.

I told you at the beginning that this would be an emotional post. I warned you. I’m not sorry if I made you cry. I’m crying. What I want you to know is that, if I ever seem less than thrilled with your children, or grandchildren, or nieces or nephews or whatever, it’s not because I don’t like children; it’s because I love them too much and I don’t want to get hurt any more. Not now, and maybe not ever.