Monday, October 29, 2007


Whatever shall I do with myself this evening to avoid being plagued by the pain and caving and taking drugs, or otherwise thinking about all the other worrying shit that is spinning our of control very near me. Why, I think I will take all the jewelry I own out of all the jewelry boxes, untangle it and then drape it over my head and take photos of myself.

halfway house © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

And then watch Law & Order CI. Cripes I need a new project besides mini-distractions and dread. In other news I was asked to judge a photography competition in February. Also I was asked to do a photo assignment for a local magazine I was featured in last winter. And I have a panic attack whenever I think about visiting the doctor on Wednesday.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

the agonist

Writing on Saturday, I spoke a bit too soon about how great I felt. Kept up all night the following night with a strange sensation that my tailbone was collapsing, I was told by the doctor on call that that was actually more 'normal' as to what to expect after this particular procedure. Funny, my doctor told me I would be totally comfortable. Perhaps he meant when I was taking lots of percocets rendering me unconscious.

I didn't write to whine about the pain, I probably should avoid writing altogether when I am actually taking the drugs but I had two things I wanted to share. One: thanks to everyone who stopped by and wish me well/check for a pulse, here and on facebook or wherever else you happen to stalk me. CJ, I always accept tokens of affection by way of edibles. Special thanks to Daniel for cooking me lunch when I was lonely/cranky/weepy/floppy/totally drugged up/unbathed. You're a trooper and can make miracles with my leftovers and a little salsa.

Secondly, I get something like separation anxiety when I haven't touched my computer (for creative work, not just checking email) and camera for stretches of time longer than 3 days. Finding a comfortable set-up finally seems to have helped. I built a wall in bed last night and I am not totally ashamed of it.

halfway house
halfway house © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

The constructs continue to be a comfort when I am too compromised to go for a photo-adventure or too wilted to turn the camera on myself. I'm itching to write (and m face is itchy but that is just one o' them side effects) but I doubt this is the ideal time to do so as I don't do much but soak in the tub and watch Law & Order CI/SVU while sitting on a fluffy tuffet. I'm still trying to figure out what I can manage for day-to-day living so the bigger excursions are few yet. Bear with me.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

living will

Yesterday (or by the time I post this the day before yesterday) was bad almost entirely for the most unexpected reasons. I've been avoiding writing this post but I noticed a surge of visitors which I will (vainly?) guess are people trying to deduce if I am dead or not. So very not dead!

carotid © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

It is rather uncomfortable to sit at this computer. I decided to go without pain meds. Not because I think that makes me tough. I am a wuss. I just have a sneaking suspicion that when I go back to the doc in 10 days to adjust the device he put in me, the pain will be much worse. And I kind of want to know about it. I've always been drawn to things that scare me a little bit. I'm not the kind of girl to jump out of moving vehicles or engage in extreme sports, but more practical, non-life threatening challenges are interesting, and for the most part, those type of forays in the medical world are still mostly new to me. So far, the first time I was cut open was the worst and they have gotten easier to handle. This time, I didn't get cut directly, instead the device is going to deliver a slow cut over weeks, one that heals as it cuts. Crazy. Yes.

The worst part of pain, so far, is the dread preceding the pain.

I had My Mom, LPN, come along with me yesterday for the procedure. As it has been in past, the bulk of the time was waiting and answering the same questions over and over. Name, date of birth, allergies, why are you here today.... endlessly. Being hungry and feeling sort of neutered running around tagged, without shoes, makeup or a bra, flapping around like some sort of frail old lady, being wheeled horizontally from one room to the next. Miraculously, my doctor remember who I was. Unfortunately he said he saw something in my cecum (I will have to figure out where that is first) he didn't like so I will be having a colonoscopy soon. Not relieved. The really nice anesthesiologist who went to great pains to insure my comfort, along with revealing the great secret of the name of my strange condition that causes my chest to burst into red blotches when I am nervous/excited/embarrassed/anything more than baseline/etc. (it is a mild dermatographia), also ended up making me the most miserable of all. Whatever he knocked me out with, and gave me to help with the nausea I get from anesthesia has left me a complete wreck since. They intubated me, which was a first and a rather horrifying surprise. They rolled me into the operating room and gave me oxygen, and the last thing I remember was breathing into the mask.

frost © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

The next thing I remember was not being able to open my eyes and the tube coming violently out of my throat. Coughing, gagging, unable to speak above a whisper, then my eyes opening a little and being totally unable to focus properly for almost an hour. Then being too tired to keep them open much laying there in recovery room one. There was a man in the next bed, who was apparently called Hiawatha. Who was having trouble breathing. I felt like I imagined the frantic group of nurses and doctors who kept chanting, Deep breaths Hiawatha, Keep breathing Hiawatha!

They wheeled me down to the next recovery room where everyone was with their family/visitors. As soon as I got out of the gurney I was certain I was going to lose the very little I had in my stomach, which really at that point was nothing. I sat down and wept form the drugs and my mom tried to calm me down, but the drugs were making me do their dance. The nurse came over and hooked up some anti-nausea drug to my IV line. She walked off and my mom took one look at the line and bolted off.

When they returned together, the nurse immediately pulled out my IV tube, giving me a mini-saline bath. Apparently there were four big air bubbles heading for my bloodstream and My Mom, LPN, happened to know that if we let that happen I might have perished from an air embolism. I was busy trying to not throw up, not speak and forcing myself to drink.

The drugs half kicked in after another hour. And the recovery room seemed to be kicking us out, so we decided to head home. Somewhere under the 69th Street sign in West Philly... the drugs decided they weren't going to help so my two sips of ginger ale and a saltine left the safety of my stomach.

Everything since then has been an improvement. Mom, Mr. D and the Maggs have been taking turns watching me sleep for the past two days. Today I took a photowalk in Ambler. I'm hoping while Mr. D is on assignment tomorrow that I will whip up another wall. By the time the muscles strains from the pretzel knots they twisted me into in the OR are starting to loosen up, I might be able to get a hold of my life again. Quiet the worries and really make something again. It feels closer now.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007


Some people have been asking for it. So I'm gonna give it to you.

Prints (plain and simple or fancy and framed) of the imaginary walls from the construct series are now available for purchase here on my imagekind.

In honor of this, a new wall inspired by a trip this weekend through a new patch of the ghetto that proved more fruitful than my wildest imaginings. Story, later.

deliverance © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

ins and outs

Glossing daintily over what was a kinda crappy weekend, I was dropped abruptly into a less than pleasing Monday morning. Guzzling from a giant cup of mystery smoothie in a hospital gown, reading a Smithsonian magazine from 1990. I filled queasily with barium and dread. Every ten minutes, laying on the metal table, holding my breath, face down as the hours passed. Waiting for the doctor who didn't understand the connection between my history and the need for the test today. Getting under another xray camera with a probe about the size of a soup bowl that lowered itself onto my stomach under the command of the doctor. Pressing me here and there, calculating. While the real time xray showed on a monitor by me head... my dazzling intestines waving like leaves of giant kelp with every breath and twitch, distracting me from the soup bowl paining me where it finally dropped.

The pain you have, the doctor says, is in your terminal ileum. The end of the small intestine. It is where Crohn's disease likes to live. The xrays we have taken today show nothing unusual there though. So it may be early stage Crohn's or a mild case. In any event, you should have a CAT scan.

swallow © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

After some blood work and insurance wrestling, I went home feeling neither good nor bad. Wondering how many more times I would do this same dance before I had an answer. Considering that my other problem, the one that will possibly require surgery in a couple weeks might be a permanent fixture in my life, or at best, a recurring one. So I went home and made some shrimp gyoza for lunch to break my fast and stir my hunger that had been killed by the barely strawberry beverage prep I drank earlier that morning. Then I took my xrays out of their envelope and looked at myself that way. More than naked and a complete mystery.

enteral realm
enteral realm © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Then to send me off to sleep, I built myself a brand new wall to hide behind.

recognize © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

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