Archive for December, 2006

Sweet Pain – a typo

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Tara and I were on the irc once upon a time. She and I would get online…she in MA, I an Santa Cruz CA and chat our little hearts out. This was in the very beginning of our email careers, when getting mail was exciting AND was replied to in lengthy detail. So…I have always been a sucky typist. I learned how to type on an electric typewriter and white out was expensive. So I would hand write whatever it was first, then hold it up to my face with my left hand (seems I was addressing my ergo even then) and type with my right hand. I think I tested at a temp agency something like 55 wpm with 4 fingers. The only reason my inability to type has any relevance to this story is that it cracked me up when people who knew how to type did things like putting their fingers one key off. Why? Because misery loves company? I don’t know. I just know that Tara and I were exchanging snarky qwerty lameness across the net when suddenly she wrote: aplah. 
I think she was trying to write “laugh”. I can’t quite remember. I just know it was the funniest thing right then and I made fun of her and she tried to correct herself and I ran with it and made her a mixed tape called Aplah. And to this day we can both say aplah and giggle. And yes, we were probably sober…we’re just true to our dork roots. Aplah! 
I don’t know why I wrote this. 
Oh yes I do. I was going to write about typos and how I am pretty sure that anyone who wrote the words “sweet” and “pain” near each other were either insane, masochists, or bad spellers and they meant to write “sweat” and “pain” since those two words have much more in common I think. 
I feel like a sharpei. 
Pain…sweet is not the word that comes to mind. Oh no. How about exploding head, throbbing jaw, pain where my gums were detached from the jaw…those fit a little better. So here I am. Me, pain, pain meds, and my nasal spray that the cat stole from me last night. We’re a great team. We watch Ugly Betty marathon on big TV with big cable and recording abilities from sweet not a pain boyfriend. 
Copyright 2006 Shelby Cass. All rights reserved 

Oh yeah…sign language post op!

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Listen Up!  

Super flat faced woman

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

I wonder if sunglasses will fit me with my face all this different. I know they didn’t used to fit because my eyeballs hit the lenses. I wonder if I have more face now and if I will actually be able to hold glasses on my face. 
When people ask questions, they aren’t really looking for answers… It seems everyone ends their questions with an “…or…” which is very annoying when you really need a yes or a no kind of questions. People don’t listen to answers or even look for them. They need to learn how to ask the question first of all…it’s very interesting…and when you can’t open your jaw to say ANYTHING, interesting turns into annoying really quickly. 
Court: Do you think I should go to Costco? 
Shelby : (looks up at Court, is about to answer….) 
Court: or…maybe I should go to Trader Joe’s? 
Shelby: (Blank look at Court because now can’t answer either question) 
Court: (Looks exasperated). Which one? (Realises what he’s said) Oh I have to ask yes or no questions. 
Shelby: (nod) 
Court: Costco? 
Shelby: (shake head) 
Court: Trader Joe’s? 
Shelby: (nod head). 
Court: What do you want from there? 
Shelby: (gestures to hand with other hand poised to write) 
Court: You want something to eat? 
Shelby: (shakes head) 
Court: You don’t want something to eat? 
Shelby: (gestures writing with right hand) 
Court: You want to eat with chopsticks? 
Okay so here’s where I just give up. It’s the same when I point to my wrist. That means I would like to know what time it is. 
Court then says “You want to know what time it is?” 
I nod. 
Court gets up and wants to display the time on the TV…but DUDE, you could have just SAID what time it was, right? 
I think this is why he doesn’t play charades…it’s pretty hopeless. 
People also ask questions that they hear their own answers to. So sometimes it’s best just not to say anything at all and let people do what they want and let them feel like they came by and made your day…because not trying to communicate kinda makes your day anyhow. 
My mom is here. She’s decided to rub my feet again. 
Something I would not have asked for, but you see, since she wanted to do it anyhow, I’m just stoked…because I get a foot rub! teehee 

Panda Sneeze

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Panda Sneeze 

Is it a woman or a man?

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

I now think I look like not just a bull dog…but a male bull dog. I think I look like Droopy…the cartoon dog that is in elevators and says “Going Up or Going Down”. My sister and I used to put pieces of sausage in between our lips and our gums to make us sound like Droopy when we spoke. I think our favorite thing to say was, “Hello. I’m Droopy.” The Cass kids…wild bunch we were. Oh but at least we weren’t that kid whose claim to fame (and infamy and almost death if he had stayed any longer) was his uncanny ability to imitate Woody Woodpecker’s entire laugh. Hahaha-HA HA Hahaha-HA-HA haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. His name was John. He had to go away. We weren’t bummed. 
Here’s when Court has been posting pictures. 
Shelby’s Sleep Apnea Surgery Photo Blog  

Kibbles and Bits

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Maybe you’ve seen the pictures Court has posted (…maybe you haven’t. I’ll sum up for you: I look like a bull dog. really. I wonder if people look like their pets, am I simply predicting what kind of dog I will get someday?

Today is Day 4. I was surged Tuesday Dec 26, and less than 5 hours later, I found out what a really nasty headache feels like. I am also still learning how incredibly fun taking liquid medicine through a syringe can not be. I’m a hat full of party right here! Court is in the (my opinion) Godlike process of crushing my Toridol into a fine fine powder of joy that I will pull into a huge syringe and dump unceremoniously into the back of my mouth…but he just asked if I wanted to snort it instead. Seems he’s been having his own little party of one. I want in on that one!

I think one of the hardest things I am dealing with is the claustrophobia I feel with my teeth banded so tightly shut, some weird mouthpiece blocking my tongue from my teeth, and a stuffy nose from my freshly repaired deviated septum. I will drift off to sleep and wake up with a stuffy nose and the overwhelming feeling that I am drowning. I’m gunna not put that on my top 10 fave things to do in a day.

Today being day 4, I am looking forward to less and less pain and swelling, but as I gain more and more of the feeling back into my lips and laws, I am not finding that sweet painless thing I was looking for. It’s rather…um…painful. I was thinking maybe in addition to finding out that I am more closely related to a bull dog than I had ever dreamed possible, I also have opened up a whole new chapter of fun things to recollect from my porch-bound wooden rocker of senility. take for instance, that I am pretty sure I was a bit more awake than people are supposed to be when they have their jaws broken on the operating room table.

I remember thinking “Oh, this is going to be a long 5 hours” because I was numb and unable to communicate and COMPLETELY aware. Upon speaking with my anesthesiologist post surgery (he of course wanted to hear what I thought I heard/felt!) he said he administered a little “pre-cocktail” and i actually said “Oh this is going to be a long 5 hours.” So I was still talking then. But then I heard Dr. Li say let’s do this and he grabbed my upper lip and I heard what I could only conclude was an electric saw to cut the bone. I thought “Okay, Shelby, do not panic. That is probably the worst thing you can do. Breathe. ” I tried maybe communicating with my anesthesiologist…I knew there wasn’t a brain monitor, but for sure he could see my pulse and blood pressure, right? So I thought I should show him I could react to noises…I kept moving my hand, but then I realised no one would care if I moved my hand and they would just think it was a twitch or something. So I gave up and thought “Well, I don’t want to have a heart attck. Hope this goes quickly! Oh, and I really hope I forget a lot of it!” And then I heard Dr. Li say “We’re done.” And I spent a lot of time in recovery doing the recovering thing… and I am pretty sure I never want to have surgery ever again for the rest of my life. I did not like being so helpless. I thought maybe that’s how people in comas might feel…and I couldn’t bear it.

Ack. What a horrible blog entry! I just wanted to get a few things down and start posting stuff to let my friends and fam know how I’m doing, but I also want to provide some sort of reference for other people who may be having or considering having this procedure. I’m happy I did it. Even if I currently look like a canine.

Peace out!

On My Way to Stanford

Tuesday, December 26th, 2006

Good morning Party People! This morning I awoke as I always do:  
Looking Fabulous 
Did my usual beauty routine 
To reveal what every woman dreams of waking up with: Fabulous LINES! 
It’s sooo cool when you go to work and some good citizen tries to make light of the fact that you slept on your pillow funny and that you must have only just woken up because the lines are still there. Ha Ha Ha. Go away. That’s the one thing I am usually not so nice about when someone mentions it. I think I kinda try to cut them off before they get into the funny ha ha making fun of the lines on my face. But there’s no good way to say “I sleep with a machine on my face so I don’t die at night.” So I just say that. Funny, people usually don’t quite know what to say after that. Ooh! I am such a bitch! 
I just thought I’d share a little insight into the catty part of my brain. I haven’t figured out a way to make the lines fashionable, though when I mention I my evening face mask escapades and I get a blank guilty stare like I just told them “Thanks for laughing at me. It’s a tumor and I have 2 weeks to live.” I like to follow it up with, “it’s all the rage. Everyone’s wearing them. Don’t you have one?” 
Court says “It’s time to go.” So I go. 
Hasta Pasta! 

Only 6 Eating Hours Left!

Monday, December 25th, 2006

Today, Christmas Day, December 25, 2007. I ate my last hamburger (grilled by Court with grilled onions, crumbled blue cheese, jalapenos buried in the burger for a little kick, and yummy barbecue sauce). I also had tater tots. mmm. 
Now I am going to eat a Ma Bell (Queen of Everything) cookie, drink some cola (dentist Dr. Steve says it would be a bad idea to drink that with my jaw wired shut), take an Airborne (bit of a sore throat eek!), and raid the fridge. I’m not actually hungry, but maybe I will just shove things in my mouth for the sake of opening my mouth and chewing them… That sounds wasteful, but if Court isn’t going to eat it (most likely), it will taunt me until it goes bad, so I may as well partially eat it, right? 
I weigh in today at a massive 158 lbs. Woah Baby! That’s just obscene! I’m not recommending or even really chosing the broken jaw weight loss program, but I will not be upset if it works. 

tick tock

Monday, December 25th, 2006

2:38 am December 25. In about 30 hours I will continue my metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly and everysing will be all bettah. That was supposed to be in Joe Ranft‘s voice of Heimlich the caterpillar from A Bug’s Life… 
I miss Joe. What an amazing man he was… Just can’t think of him without a big smile. And of course Dan Lee is never ever far from my thoughts. This may sound creepy but I still have Dan’s phone number in my cel so that when I flip past his name I am reminded how lucky I was to know such a guy and how he wanted people to remember the good stuff. I think that’s a good reminder to have on a regular basis. 
Now my surgery seems like nothing in comparison to the world losing both Dan Joe. And so I will take a deep breath, think of Joe…smile…think of Dan…smile more…miss them both, and lay me down to sleep. 
Joy to the World 
Joe’s Wikipedia entry  
Dan’s Wikipedia entry  

This is where it begins…or ends…depends which end you stand on

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

All right. Today is December 23,2006. 3 days from now I will be wheeling (okay I won’t be doing the wheeling I will be the wheelee) into a 5 hour surgery with world famous surgeon Dr. Kasey Li . I won’t remember any of it, and after another week or so of his typical 2-3 of this same surgery, he probably won’t remember it either. That is what I hope. Because if he doesn’t remember it, it’s because everything went smooth as silk…just another day at the office as he says. So here’s to hoping. 
I am having surgery to correct my Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) . People can have different levels of OSA. I asked what mine was. Dr. Li said it was “pretty severe”. I think that means “Many people are worse than you but you should still have this corrected.” The sleep study they did at Stanford showed my sleep index at 37, which means I stop breathing 37 times AN HOUR. When they first told us (me and Court) what my sleep test results were, they said “you stop breathing on average 37 times” and Court and I though…Wow, that’s a lot of times to stop breathing in a night, but doesn’t sound TOO bad. And then they added the PER HOUR bit and we both did a double take. Dr. Li says that means I skip every other breath, and the breaths I do take take a lot of effort.  
That was a crazy day. 
I had been misdiagnosed with Narcolepsy a year earlier and the “Doctor” had me on this crazy medication that was essentially killing me. It put me into a deep Delta sleep (the stuff I would never get since my body was waking itself up to breathe every other breath) and even though I said “I wake up drenched in sweat. I have these HORRIBLE dark circles under my eyes. I am losing weight like no one’s business and I do NOTHING all day”, her response was, “you look great. Wear concealer.” 30 lbs later, and man were my dreams that year horrific, I go to Stanford and find out that life could be better. By a lot. 
Super sweet. 
Unfortunately, with the application of the Snufeluphagus CPAP contraption, I no longer work so hard to stay alive at night and my body decided it was okay to pack those 30 lbs back on (plus interest). I now have so many wardrobes it is INSANE. I went from a size 10-12 to a size 4 with the mis-diagnosis, and a year and a half later, I am wearing elastic waistband pants because I know (Read: hope) that I will lose weight after this surgery since I will be on a liquid diet while by teeth are banded shut and be able to wear at least the 10-12s which I grew out of a long time ago (Read: I’ve got a big gut). 
I’m rambling. Nothing new. Back to the point, which is that I am having surgery on Tuesday morning to CORRECT my OSA. Sweetness. I am having 3 things done (I’ll pretend I know what I am talking about here). I will be having a Maxillomandibular Advancement which is the moving of my upper and lower jaws about 12mm forward to enlarge my airway. I will also have a Genioglossus Advancement which involves cutting the bone in my chin that attaches to my tongue muscle and moving it forward so my tongue doesn’t get friendly with the entirety of my airway whilst I slumber. Lastly, I will have my deviated septum repaired which means I can stop pasting strips to my nose at night to breath better, but it also means that making a piggy snout won’t have anything but aesthetic rewards now. Bummer. 
Does anyone know what I just wrote? I am pretty sure I don’t. My nutshell interpretation is: They’re going to break my upper and lower jaw, move things forward, fix my deviated septum (which I had only associated with people who snorted drugs) and give me a chin. The immediately after bit will probably suck, but the part after that is where I don’t have to wear a chin bra to sleep anymore and maybe I stop living on the side of the road (I spend a lot of time there especially in traffic when I just kind of fall asleep…so yeah, best to pull over). 
I just made the piggy snout nose. It’s cool to imagine I will be able to breathe that much fresh air on a regular basis. I think I will spend much of post surgery high. Okay, that’s kind of a fact, right? I mean, you don’t have someone break your jaws for Tylenol, right? I get the hard core stuff. The good stuff. The stuff that makes it painful to concentrate on a conversation, and even more painful to go to the bathroom since you’re COMPLETELY stopped up. The stuff that makes you pull out your hair and hit your head a lot and makes your skin crawl when they take it away.  
Yeah. I don’t like that part at all. But AFTER that. After all the swelling and bruising and eating through a syringe and I don’t know how I’m supposed to get pills past banded shut jaws anyhow… After all of that, when I am The New and Improved Shelby with kung fu grip and super profile…I will be able to put my hands on my hips like the superhero I was meant to be if it weren’t for heredity, and inhale LOTS of air MULTIPLE times in a row WITHOUT having to push my nose into a piggy snout, and get high on good old Oh Two. 
Bring it!