Monday, January 29, 2007

Movie Reviews 8-12

Okay, I just wrote an entire post and somehow managed to erase it... so I'm going to skip the commentary for now and give some more movie reviews. I haven't written lately, largely because I haven't been doing a whole lot that's been worth writing about. However, I have been watching a bunch of movies, so here are my thoughts on them...

Network - This movie was incredibly intense and altogether excellent. When it came out in 1976 it was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won four. One of the ones I was shocked to learn that it lost was the one for Best Picture. Then I looked it up and found that the other Best Picture nominees that year were All the President's Men, Bound for Glory, Rocky, and Taxi Driver. I haven't seen Bound for Glory, but I don't even know which movie I would choose out of the others. They're all on my own Best Movies Ever list. Anyway, back to Network. It was a very sharp reflection of the media world, particularly the entertainment-ification of the news. I was amazed to discover that, despite the fact that the movie came out in 1976, it's not at all dated (save for the costumes and sets). While being one of those movies that just completely sucks you in, it delivers a smart social commentary, complete with the very clever incorporation of the Patty Hearst/Symbionese Liberation Army saga as a plot device. Apparently the writers claimed that the movie was supposed to be purely a reflection of the industry and not a satire, but given the context of the current state of the media, I absolutely took this as a satire - and as such I was incredibly impressed. All in all, an absolutely excellent movie - and Faye Dunaway more than earned the Best Actress Oscar she won for this.

The Girl Next Door - This movie was surprisingly fun. It shouldn't have been surprising, given the person who recommended it to me (thanks, Ev!), but I digress. It was actually a pretty well-written comedy that was over-the-top and completely fun to watch without coming off as entirely ridiculous and stupid (see below). It's not exactly cinematic genius in the realm of Network, but it's an entirely entertaining movie and an excellent way to spend a couple of hours.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend - Now this was entirely ridiculous and stupid, but somehow I still thought it was fun. Perhaps this was because I elected to turn it on somewhere around 2:00am when I couldn't sleep last night? Either way, it's a total "chick flick" and completely silly, but it totally fit the bill for me last night.

13 Going on 30 - And now this movie was just ridiculous and stupid. They keep playing it on TNT or TBS (can't remember which) so I've probably caught it about three times in the last three days and I have yet to figure out why I keep watching this sorry excuse for a movie.

Little Miss Sunshine - Please forgive this line, but I have to say that this movie was a fantastic bright spot between showings of 13 Going on 30. I thought it cleverly done and likable without pandering to the audience or crossing into the realm of being corny. It was completely entertaining and funny without condescending to the audience anywhere along the line. And I know I'm not the first to say this, but I just totally adored Abigail Breslin. She was just such a kid, which was so sweet to watch. No wonder the child is only 10 years old and already has 18 acting credits to her name. But the true highlight of the movie was Alan Arkin, who managed to be completely likable and totally hilarious even though he was a crabby old screwup. I loved this movie - and not just because it relieved me of that 13 Going on 30 nonsense.

Next up in my Netflix queue: The Jerk and the first season of The Larry Sanders Show. Until they arrive, I do have some more great DVDs here at home (thanks, Matt!) so I'll keep the reviews coming until I think of anything more interesting to say!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


As of today (er, as of yesterday... and by "yesterday" I mean "an hour ago") it's officially been four weeks since my surgery. And it's officially been three weeks since I've posted anything here. I apologize for my absence and promise to get back to writing more regularly in the hope that I can provide some entertainment for anyone out there who is looking for a distraction. I do, however, have good reason for neglecting this blog over the last few weeks.

After my first few (hellish) days at home post-surgery, there was a great upswing in my progress. I started feeling better, moving around more, and progressively cutting down on the painkillers. The reason I haven't been posting here, quite simply, is that I'm no longer spending all day in bed with only my laptop for entertainment. These days I'm out of bed most of the day, and when I am in bed it's generally because I'm completely exhausted. I do still have pain, but the pain is generally surgical pain. My whole abdominal area is still very tender, as is the area around the incision on my back. The solution to this (the solution to everything, really) seems to be ice. I'm not sure if it's actually helping the pain or if it just soothes me psychologically, but it does help. This stupid brace, on the other hand... it doesn't bother me when I'm standing or walking, or when I'm sitting straight up in a hard chair, but it becomes unbelievably obnoxious when I lie down in bed. But if that's the worst of my troubles at this point, I think I can consider myself to be in pretty good shape. I still take three doses of percocet daily, but I've cut the doses down to one pill each (originally when I got home from the hospital I was taking oxycontin every 12 hours, too, but no more) and I don't usually need to take anything during the day. So I'm definitely making progress. My daily activities generally include a lot of walking around the house (without the walker - I stopped needing it after that first week), sitting around the house, more walking around the house... you get the idea. It's not exactly thrilling, but it's much better than being confined to bed. My next follow-up appointment with my doctor is in two weeks and at that point I'll actually be allowed to go places beyond my backyard. Ahh, how wonderful to anticipate being able to ride in a car again...! Really, though, I don't mean to be sarcastic here. I've come a long way in the past month.

I have, however, been admittedly unimaginative in my attempts to keep myself entertained. I've been astoundingly unproductive and seem to spend an awful lot of time these days watching TV or knitting. My new favorite show is the "Growing Up..." series on Animal Planet, and my absolute favorite episode is "Growing Up Walrus." Yes, it seems that somewhere over the last few weeks I morphed into a five-year-old. Really, I could watch those over and over again. But the best entertainment by far has been the steady stream of visitors I've been lucky enough to have. I continue to be amazed at the loyalty and devotion of my friends and, as always, just love spending time with everyone. I'm flattered that people have taken the time to come and see me - some traveling quite a significant distance. Your visits make me feel normal and social again, like everything is just as it always has been. I love seeing everyone, spending time catching up and talking and laughing like we always do.

Simple pleasures, true, but real pleasures indeed.

Wishing each and every one of you a very happy and healthy 2007.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Thank you.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for your concern, your support, your caring, your encouragement, your humor, your wisdom, your comfort.

I came home from the hospital on Sunday (my stay was slightly longer than expected) and am happy to report that the surgery was a success. My surgeon was quite pleased with how everything went and said that everything he'd expected to need to do from my MRIs, he did in fact need to do, and was able to do. He also said that I'd somehow re-herniated again, and that they were able to remove the stray disc material. Don't even ask me how I managed a third herniation. That wasn't the main source of the problem this time around, but it certainly wasn't helping anything. But anyway, it all went well. And my surgeon estimates that I am now 1/3" to 1/2" taller. Ha!

So now I'm readjusting to being home. The weekend was overwhelming - I've been able to get up and move around quite a bit, but am learning my limits as I seem to wear myself out fairly easily, and too much activity comes at a very high price. It seems that this recovery will be a gradual process, but I will say that it's really nice to be able to move around with more confidence and considerably less pain. I'm walking with a walker now, which the physical therapist said I shouldn't need for more than the next week or so, and I'm able to sit up again.

The best news of all is that the shooting pains I've had in my legs for the past three years is now gone. Yes, gone. GONE. Despite the incredible pain from the surgery (seriously, I have never experienced anything even somewhat close to this post-surgery pain that I've had over the last week), I could tell right away that the shooting pains that used to go all the way down to my toes had gone. I was terrified that they would come back when I got up to walk, but they didn't. The pain I have now is basically surgical pain that I expect to go away somewhere down the road. My incisions bother me (and itch!) and my entire abdominal area is extremely tender from when they went in and pushed everything out of the way, but at the moment we seem to have hit a stride with my painkillers so it appears to be managed for now. Keep your fingers crossed that it keeps going this way. I've had a decent - if tired - 24 hours, and hopefully the streak will continue.

Maybe it's a side effect of dealing with the pain - I think the pain itself is just plain exhausting - but I've been experiencing this odd sensitivity to sound and light over the last couple of days. Talking on the phone is giving me a headache, staring at my computer is giving me a headache, listening to more than one sound source (like if the TV is on and someone starts talking) is giving me a headache. I think my body is just really drained. So hopefully I'll get back to posting with more regularity soon, but know that if I might just sort of lay off the computer for a couple of days, I'll be back.

In the meantime, I hope that everyone is enjoying a very happy and healthy holiday season. Thank you all for making mine so sweet.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I don't know where to start. I'm feeling so many things right now. I just came off an absolutely wonderful weekend thanks to some fantastic visitors who made me feel "normal" (relatively speaking, of course) and social again, and kept me entertained and laughing for three straight days. I am so appreciative that they took the time and effort (and it was no small effort) to come see me - not to mention that it was just so much fun to see everyone. I've been missing my friends something fierce these days, and it feels great to spend time with people.

I'm also very appreciative of the warm wishes I've received from everyone. I've been a bit of an emotional wreck all day as I try to mentally prepare myself for surgery. I realized that the two things that make me the most nervous are 1) being under anesthesia for so long tomorrow; and 2) the pain that I know I'll feel afterward. People keep telling me that Wednesday will be excruciatingly painful. I know I can tolerate a certain amount of pain at this point, but I suspect that this will be a totally different kind of pain and I have no way to know how it will feel or how well I'll be able to tolerate it. I have full confidence in my surgeon and everyone at the hospital has been incredibly nice, so I know I'm in good hands, but I can't help but be anxious and scared. I've been on edge all day and just snapped at my dad for no reason at all, and I'm realizing that I've been tearing up about every five seconds. I know that even though it's relatively long, this is a fairly routine surgery - and I'm not actually all that worried about how the surgery will go and how I'll heal - but I'm just generally very uneasy right now. I'm a gal who doesn't even like being drunk because I don't like the feeling that my head is a little bit cloudy, and tomorrow I'm going to be under general anesthesia for somewhere around eight hours, followed by two days and nights on morphine. It's daunting. The kind thoughts people have shared with me really do provide me some comfort, and I count myself lucky to have frequent reminders of how genuinely caring my friends are. The support really is helpful, and I am so glad for it - not least because I know I'll need some more support over the coming months. The recovery will be a long and winding road, I'm sure, but for now I'm just excited to get into the Recovery Phase. I can't wait until this part is behind me.

So yes, I am overwhelmed by anxiety and nerves and fears as I go into my surgery tomorrow. But I am also completely overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you all. You help me more than you know.

I will be in the hospital for the next few days so I won't be posting here for a little while. In the meantime, though, I hope the holidays find all of you happy, healthy, and enjoying lots of time with family and friends.

If you have any more holiday party horror stories, please send them along to All names will be changed to protect the "innocent," and if you guys send a few more in I will post them here as we go through the holiday season.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

On the Brink

This morning I went to the hospital for my final pre-op bloodwork, a consultation with the hospital's patient advocate, and a consultation with an anesthesiologist. Once again I've managed to become a bit freaked out at the gravity of unsurprising information. First of all, I do have to say that I think it's smart for a hospital to have a person whose whole job is to be a patient advocate. Do all hospitals have patient advocates on staff these days? They really should. She offered so much information about the ins and outs of being in the hospital - it was very helpful in terms of knowing what to expect and how to deal with different issues that may arise. This was the same lady who had taken the time to give me the information from the spine class over the phone (good news: I don't have to go to the four-hour class tomorrow morning!). She said that I should spend a couple of days wearing my brace before I have my surgery so that I'll not only get used to wearing it, but I'll also know what questions to ask the physical and occupational therapists in terms of how best to go about my ADLs (hospitalspeak for "activities of daily living"). So far (read: in the last hour) I've noticed that the following things are difficult to do with my brace on: getting into bed, getting comfortable in bed, getting out of bed, sitting up in bed, rolling onto my side while I'm in bed, and reaching for things. I know that the PT and OT will likely be painful while I'm in the hospital, but I'm finding that I'm very thankful for having had the experience of working in a nursing-home-slash-inpatient-rehab-facility with a huge staff of PTs and OTs last year. I've spent a lot of time watching them and working with them and even though I know the therapy itself can be painful, I really am taking comfort in the fact that I know they really know what they're doing and that I'm finding that I have a lot of trust for them.

The thing that really freaked me out today, though, was that the hospital staff gave me a form to fill out with advance directives detailing a living will and power of attorney. My mom was with me at the hospital and when I said that she should be my POA, she actually said that it'd probably be better for me to appoint my dad. Honestly I think either one of them would be fine - I don't actually have a preference between the two of them - but somehow it was comforting to see that she was just as freaked out about the need for advance directives as I was. I don't think I can bring myself to fill out the form just yet... although I'll have to do it tonight so my dad can take it to his office to get it notarized tomorrow... but somehow it's comforting even just to know that I can put it off for a few hours.

I'm finding comfort in some really odd things these days, aren't I?

Thank you so much for the emails of support today (as always). I just want to clarify that they shouldn't actually need to use the advance directives for this surgery. It really shouldn't be an issue that comes anywhere near that; what freaked me out earlier (and still does freak me out) is being asked to think about it. As I've discussed with some of you, I do think it wise to have advance directives and a living will in place. It's just bizarre to actually make those decisions. (Sample question: "If you are pregnant..." - which, believe me, I am nowhere near.) I did fill out the forms tonight, though, and I'm glad to know that whatever happens - at any point - I do have my wishes in writing and they will be respected. Oddly comforting, once again. What is with me today?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


T minus seven days till surgery.

In the meantime, though, I've decided to collect holiday party horror stories. Email me any good ones you have - if I get enough, I'll post them all (anonymously, of course - feel free to change names to protect the "innocent"). Send funny ones from this year, last year, whenever... should be fun! You can email me at

Monday, December 11, 2006

Brace Yourself

I had my final pre-op appointment with my orthopedic surgeon today. I'm happy to report that everything went fine and everyone is very confident that I'll do well. I'm nervous, which I know is natural, but... well, the fact that it's natural to be nervous doesn't actually make me any less nervous. I think my nerves are exhausting me at this point. I got my brace today, too, and I'm actually wearing it at the moment. I don't actually need to wear it until after the surgery, but I figured I'd wear it for a little while tonight just so I can get used to how it'll feel to move around with it. It's basically a supersized corset, but it's not terribly uncomfortable.

Other than that, not too much else to report today. Except that the spinal fellow who is assisting my surgeon is completely and totally cute. Kind of distractingly so... but that's okay with me. He's young, too, so that's a fun little distraction. I hope I don't say anything dumb when I'm under anesthesia.

Web Page Hit Counters