Thursday, July 31, 2014

RIP Little Car

So, Legolas is totaled. No more blue Corolla with the bluetooth and touch screen radio and zero acceleration. You can read more about the accident here , but yeah, Legolas is gone.

He was a good car, and I feel a little sad thinking about it being gone. It's like getting rid of a pair of old running shoes. I usually get my thinking/feeling time in while driving or running, so when a car or pair of shoes has to go, it's like saying goodbye to that segment of my life as well. Time to move on, I suppose.

Goodbye Legolas. Mostly goodbye to all the loud music I listened to in that car. It was my first car with a halfway decent sound system, so I think I had blown the speakers (They were starting to crackle...). I guess at least I got my use out of the car in some way! It was a good time, and he will be missed. RIP little car- or I guess more accurately- may your parts be sold to good dealers.

 The Glory Days

Well, on to the next chapter. I will now be learning how to drive stick shift so Nate and I can share his car. Here we go!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dear July: You may have won the battle, but not the war.

Somewhere along the lines, I must have done something very frustrating to the month of July. That is all I can think to explain a random brain surgery and a car accident mere hours after Nate leaves for California.

The Short Version:
The accident was totally my fault. I was trying to get back to the freeway in a city I had never been in before, and was distracted by trying to figure out what my GPS was saying/where I was. As I came to a light, everyone in the lanes next to me was moving and the intersection was clear, so I just kept going. Turns out the light was red, and oncoming traffic was headed my way. A lady hit the front of my car on the driver's side, and then she fled the scene. I got off with a warning instead of a ticket (lucky, to say the least) and my insurance only has to take care of me instead of her as well.

I am fine. My neck and shoulders are sore, but that's pretty much old hat to me now because of how many accidents I've been in. Just another round of chiropractic care and some massage therapy. My car will be in the shop for about a month, and I will drive a fancy rental. And by fancy I mean newer model of the Toyota Corrolla.

The Details:
I think accidents are worse when they're you're fault, because then it's not just the shock and scariness of an accident. It's also the disbelief of how stupid you were in that instance.

I've replayed the situation about a million times in my head- glancing at my phone, looking back at the road and assuming it was my turn, only to suddenly be hit and hear that terrible sound of another car hitting mine. I didn't even know what had happened until I got out of the car and the other woman said, "Are you F*ing kidding me?! You ran a red light!" I stared at her, dumb founded, and didn't say anything, because: A) I didn't know I had run the light and so B) the accident was totally my fault and thus C) she had every reason in the world to be furious with me. I just stood there as she walked past to me to the gas station nearby (never to return, as we later discovered) and tried to piece together what had happened.

They towed both the cars away (neither could be driven at this point) and our friend Brock came and picked me up and took me home. I was still too shocked by the whole thing to have any real response, so I was feeling pretty good and just prepared myself to live with the consequences.

The next day, however, was a little less manageable. I was on the phone for the good part of the morning with the insurance, the towing yard, the mechanics, and the medical adjuster. I will say this for Geico- they have been great to work with, and even had someone come pick me up to go get a rental car. Geico covers me having a rental for up to 30 days. (which, it turns out, is fortunate because my car is going to take about a month to repair.)

After I got the rental, I went to the mechanic where my car was. This was probably the weirdest part of the whole experience. I could have sworn my car wasn't as damaged as it was when I got to the shop. It was a very odd feeling of realizing that this was actually a pretty bad accident, and I was lucky to be alive- never mind not seriously injured. As I looked at my car and saw all the scratches and chunks taken out of the metal, I was filled with a deep sense that I had absolutely been spared. If she had hit me a millisecond later I would not have been so lucky. You'll notice the now concave tire. That could have been me.

 And it was my fault. Like this accident was a total consequence of me being distracted, and yet I escaped punishment in a lot of ways. (Not that I should be grateful the woman was clearly some sort of criminal since she didn't stay on the scene, but... it does help me a lot. Maybe God was trying to teach her a lesson? Who knows)

This weird feeling was only increased as I looked at the inside of my car. From the inside, everything looks completely normal- no dents or scratches anywhere. And it was really weird to see remnants of my normal life when outside the car was totally not normal. I'm trying to describe it, but it was just very odd to see things like grocery lists, receipts, and sunglasses inside the car when outside the car was practically a near death experience.

The Pictures. Yikes.


This is all I can deduce: Nate had random brain surgery, and we were blessed in so many ways I don't think I could ever say there isn't a God. I get in a crazy accident that was my fault, and I walk away with sore shoulders at worst. Either July has it out for us, or God is trying to tell us that whatever happens here on earth, He's still bigger than it and can soften the blow. Who's to say, but Nate and I are still alive and kicking, so here's to life. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Running Journal #1

I decided to start keeping a running journal on my blog. The hope is that it will create some accountability for me and give me a chance to talk about one of my favorite things. My guess is that no one cares, but the idea that an ambiguous someone might is probably enough to keep me running regularly, and that is the goal.

Today was a solid 4.5 miles. In the pouring rain. I entertained myself by making up songs in my head about how hardcore I was while also telling myself I was the best. I don't possess either of those traits, but the self motivation did help me run several hills.

My goal was to run to the temple. I was sopping wet once I got there and thought about how there could probably be a conference talk about it. You know- reaching the temple no matter the odds. However, I was in no place to go inside temple since I was in my wet and dirty running clothes. Better pick a different analogy.

The other fun aspect of this run is that my toenail will likely come off. My second toe on my right foot has lost its toenail multiple times. It's only this toe, and, gross as it is, I get a certain sense of satisfaction whenever it falls off. It's like a rite of passage into being a hardcore runner or something. Anyway, last night I broke the rod that holds up our towels (I was trying to put too many towels on it) and one of the posts landed on my special-volatile-toenail toe. So, between that and the longer run, I can expect a naked toe by the end of the week. Unfortunately this is exciting to no one but me.

Anyway, it was a good run, followed by a good warm shower.

Monday, July 21, 2014

6 Month-iversary

Well, besides made up words (although I think month-iversary is catching on...) Nate and I have had quite the first six months! It has included, but is not limited to:

2 apartments
2 states
1 big new job (Amazon) and a few little ones (me at The Borgen Project and a brief stint at Gap)
2 ER visits
1 brain surgery

and... well I think I just want to end on brain surgery.

We've had quite the go, and I had started this blog with the intention of saying all of the things I've learned about marriage. Unfortunately, I'm a slow learner and wouldn't have much to say except, "Be nice," and, "Brain surgery isn't as bad as it sounds, but you should still bring a lot of chocolate."

However, I have learned more about Nate, more about myself, and more about what I love about Nate. In lieu of it being our six monthiversary, I think I'll list my six favorite things about Nate thus far.

1. He is affectionate, even in his sleep. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I'll reach over and grab his hand or put my arm around his waist. Without waking up, he will grab my hand back or press his arm against mine. This is also true of the early morning hours, and I think it's sweet that even when he's not awake, he still likes to snuggle!

2. He is very ticklish. Like, more so than a little kid. My favorite thing to do is tickle him during prayers at church- you know, when a grown man is supposed to be quiet and still. :) You know he's a good husband because he's still nice to me afterward.

3. He loves loves LOVES cars. We play this game whenever we drive of who can spot the Tesla (or any fancy car really- Maserati, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, etc) first, and Nate can not only spot the car by its headlights, he can also tell you the year, how the engine works, what it's all made of, and how much it cost.

4. He is a smarty pants. Nate loves to research things, and he loves noticing trends. I love it because I am always learning from him, and it always seems like he knows everything. Why google when I could just ask Nate? Also, linear regressions are his favorite thing. I'm beginning to think a shirt with a graph on it would be just as attractive to him as something scandalous.

5. He is a good cook. Nate and I have a lot of fun cooking together, trying new things, and critiquing meals as well. It's one of my favorite things we have in common, and it's nice to have a husband that can whip up something delicious.

6. He's got a great bod. But really- Nate is one buff guy. But, more than just a good body, I love that we do active things together. From tennis to kayaking to just going on walks, I love that we get out, and I love that Nate is always up for whatever I suggest. Not only does he think my ideas are good, but he goes along with them. :)

I love my sweet pea, and I can't imagine life any other way.

 We took these the night we got engaged.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Nate's Brain: Home Free

I feel like we are the luckiest people in the world, and I still can't believe they let us go home today. We were told that Saturday would be the day if everything went perfectly, and to consider ourselves lucky at that.

So, when I last wrote, they were challenging Nate's brain. This means they made it more difficult for the brain to rely on the catheter to pump fluid, but it was still possible. After a day of that, they decided to clamp the catheter. This would mimic what it would be like without the catheter while maintaining the security of keeping it there. Nate's brain did great. The pressure stayed at a good level, and Nate felt fine.

The nurses told us that after 24 hours of clamping the catheter, they would then take it out. Then, after 24 hours of doing well with no catheter, we would be transferred from the ICU to a regular recovery unit. We would stay there for 48 hours, and then go home. We were ok with this, and we were honestly just excited to have a timeline and some progress. 

This morning, the physician's assistant came to take out the catheter. She took one look at Nate and said, "Yeah, I don't think we need to transfer you to another room or keep you overnight. I'll see what I can do to get you home today." A half hour later, she came back and said, "The surgeon said you need to go home. I told him about you doing lunges during your walks and he said to get you out of here."

It is seriously like Christmas came early. I have never been so grateful for my bed or my kitchen or just my life being more normal. Obviously we will still need to keep an eye on things, but as far as brain surgery goes, it shouldn't be too bad. 

I'll probably write more later- we were the recipients of so many blessings and so much help, and we feel stronger as a couple. But for now, just know that we're home, happy, and healthy! 


Monday, July 7, 2014

Nate's Brain: Good Timing and The ICU

Last Wednesday, Nate called me asking if I could pick him up early from work. His week-long headache had progressed to the point of him barely being able to function, and he needed to come home. He had taken the prescribed migraine medication, but it didn't seem to be working. Later that evening (around 3am), when Nate couldn't sleep because of the pain, our doctor (who was thankfully on call) said we needed to go to the ER. 

The doctors in the emergency room immediately performed a CT scan, discovered fluid on his brain (hydrocephalus), and then transferred us to the Neuro ICU. There, an MRI showed that Nate had a colloid cyst on his brain, creating a blockage to the ventricles in his brain. Hence the fluid build up and the pressure causing the headache. 

A few hours later, they did an endoscopic procedure to remove the cyst- aka brain surgery. Basically, they drilled a hole in his skull and stuck a small tube through that would both break down and suck up the cyst. The surgery went well and was successful in removing the entire cyst. 

Since then, he has had a catheter where the surgery took place, draining the excess fluid and blood from his brain. Until the brain can get into the habit of pumping/draining on its own, the catheter acts as a support. Nate's drainage has actually gone really well, and they're to the point of doing what's called "challenging" the brain. This means that the brain cannot rely as much on the catheter, and has to pump on its own. This is a good thing, because we don't want the catheter! Because as long as the catheter is in, we are in the ICU. 

The hope is that the catheter will be removed fairly soon (crossing our fingers for tomorrow), and we will leave the ICU. That will be exciting, but unfortunately it does not mean leaving the hospital. Once the catheter is removed, Nate will still need to be monitored (though less closely than in the ICU) for a period of time.

We're not sure how long this will all take. Though everything is going well and Nate has done great, the timeline is still on a case by case basis and is only revealed a piece at a time. I joke that this is like "Choose Your Own Adventure" from Hell. There are so many factors at play and we never know exactly what's next.  

The good news is this- He is doing very well and progressing quickly. Once he is recovered, he will be totally normal. He is still thinking, eating, talking, sleeping, all of the above- normally. Eventually, things really will be just fine.

We also feel extremely fortunate. Nate's best friend Brock moved up here barely a month ago with his wonderful wife Devynne, and the timing could not be better. We also have wonderful friends from church offering their help. It also helps that we just so happen to live by one of the leading neuroscience institutes- Nate's surgery was performed by one of the top neurologists around. And, my internship ended the day before this all began. Good timing- I say yes. 

It is true that Nate's surgery took place when we were supposed to be flying to a family vacation. But- in my mind, it was one less thing to worry about on the way to the hospital since we already had work off.

I also feel the need to apologize for unanswered phone calls and texts. As you can imagine, this is a very busy and overwhelming time for us, and I can barely keep up with keeping immediate family updated. We are grateful for the prayers and the support, and we have been so helped. Though I am not the best at getting back to everyone, I do promise to ask for help when we need it.

I know things are going to be fine, and it's times like this when you realize how much faith in God really helps. Whatever your spiritual affiliation, we have received great strength by appealing to and relying on a higher power. It is still hard, but we're grateful for the perspective our faith allows.