Monday, February 24, 2014

And the Games are over...

The Olympic Games, that is.

The Olympics are always an exciting time for me, for several reasons. First off, I enjoy a lot of the Olympic sports and they aren't ones you normally see on TV, like arial, bobsled, skeleton, ice dancing, etc. I have a blast getting sucked into the emotions of the athletes.

But the biggest reason the Olympics are one of my favorite biennial events? The Ravellenic Games.

First off, for those of you not familiar with Ravelry, it is one of the largest social media websites out there. And it's exclusively for fiber artists, including knitters, crocheters, spinners, and weavers. During the Olympics, a group of intrepid and very hardworking volunteers run the Ravellenic Games. The Ravellenic Games start when the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics starts and end when the torch goes out at the end of the Closing Ceremonies. The point of the Ravellenic Games is to challenge yourself as a fiber artist, just as the athletes are doing in their sports. We even have events, like the Shawl Short Track, the Lace Luge, and the Hat Halfpipe.

This year, the team I compete on, Team No Spoons (in reference to the Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino), elected me their Fearless Leader. Okay, so the real title is "Team Captain", but "Fearless Leader" is just more fun. Team No Spoons is team for the group* the Chronic Bitches. The Chronic Bitches, or CBs, as we call ourselves, are a support group for chronically ill/disabled fiber artists who are a touch irreverent, fond of naughty words, able to laugh at themselves, willing to talk about anything, and, most importantly, incredibly supportive. I can turn to my CBs about anything and everything, and have for 4.5 years now. They are my rock. We share knowledge, tips of dealing with difficult doctors, discuss the frustrations of being ignored by yet another doctor with a god-complex. It's been a privilege getting to return some of that awesome support by leading the team.

I'm a rather slow knitter, and crochet is out as my autoimmune arthritis has my hands, wrists, and elbows extra swollen lately, so I picked small. I opted to knit Petunia the Patio Monster from the Big Book of Knitted Monsters by Rebecca Danger. She made out of a self-striping rainbow yarn called Serenity Garden, sold by Jo-Anne's Fabrics. 

Also during this years Games, I decided to do a bit of spinning on my trusty Lendrum DT spinning wheel. A friend bought me a batt (fiber prepared in a sheet) that is black alpaca overlaid in rainbow dyed silk. I decided to separate the silk from the black alpaca and spin the two separately, into different plies (the individual strands that are then together to make yarn). Then, once I ply the black and the rainbow plies together, and knit up the yarn, you'll get peeks through the black of a very vibrant rainbow. I'm happy with how it came out in the end- I have about 86 yds of a dk-to-worsted weight yarn from this. Though, I am quite glad to be done trying to spin silk in very dry air- it was Attack of the Static Monsters around here. The one night, my mom started laughing at me, and I looked down to find my ass being attacked by a glob of green silk- which had launched itself more than 3 feet across the room to attack me. 

The batt, as it came in the mail:

The batt, once I had separated the silk and the alpaca:

And finally, the final yarn:

I'm very happy with how my projects came out, and I'm very proud of my team. They are truly some of the greatest women I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, and it was a pleasure working with them during the Games. Can you really ask for more? 

* Groups are basically sub-forums within Ravelry- you have to go looking for the group you're interested in to read anything posted there. You can join groups to get them to show up on your main page when you log in, which is very useful. The groups represent a wide variety of interests, from the fiber arts related like lace knitting and Sock Knitters Anonymous to non-fiber arts topics, like politics, TV/movie/music fan groups, and even health/wellness groups.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Post-op... Again

This is me, after all, and random surgeries are as much a part of my life as anything else at this point. This one was #9 in a hair over 9 years, and it should have fallen in the bottom half as far as how complicated/serious/painful it would be. (Simple gallbladder removal as the pesky thing was filled completely with large stones.)

Once again, this is ME. I should have known a simple gallbladder removal wouldn't stay simple for long.

Surgery was Friday, at a local hospital. Of course, the surgeon I was seeing came highly recommended, but he doesn't operate out of the one local hospital I've had good luck with. Fine. Fingers crossed, things won't totally suck. I should have known I'd be wrong. Don't get me wrong- the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurse anesthetist (who is actually a family friend) all did great jobs. But the pre- and post- op groups? Were horrific at their jobs. Epically so.

The nurses refused to give me proper pain meds, despite them being ordered for me. No joke- they refused to give me the oxycodone the doctor ordered for me because I had already been given tylenol in my IV... even healthy patients aren't supposed to manage immediate post-op pain with 2 tylenol. At one point, I had to get up to pee, and before I even made it to the door of my room, I was bent in half, sobbing in pain. With my history of extreme pain, it takes a LOT to get to me. Plus, I now have the SCS implanted, and it allows me to get some pain coverage in my stomach, so I had it jacked as high up as I could get it to go. 

It didn't help that my internal organs are more affected by the CRPS than we ever imagined. The air pressure from the laparoscopic procedure should not have caused such extreme pain for the length of time that it did, but it did, and the fact that the SCS helped cover that pain, along with the way it presented, taught us that my organs are more sensitive to pain than we knew.

Also,  never, ever, ever trust a nurse at a post-op unit to understand the words, "I can't take the pain, somethings wrong." They blew me off and assumed I was making it all up. It finally got so bad my mom convinced them to release me, so that she could get me home and on to higher doses of pain meds. (Two low dose percocet shouldn't be a "much higher dose" than what a hospital gives you in post-op....) They were giving me 1/3 of what I should have been getting at the hospital. Once I got home and had access to heating pads and actual meds, I could breath again. Sad. 

I did learn one thing from all of this: to only have surgery at a few, select hospitals. I don't care how fancy they are, they can still be a nightmare waiting to happen (I'm looking at you, Rochester Methodist...). Stick to what you know works. Any future local surgeries will held at a single hospital, the place that did  my SCS. Because, well, this is me. There will be more surgeries, it's just a matter of what they turn out to be for.